Micole Khemarrica (khromat) wrote,
Micole Khemarrica

20 Opinions on 20 Issues

Okay, I admit, I read all of joshuwain's post on this survey at bzoink! and considering I haven't done any philosophizing in months, this seems a good starting point, so here goes... and I will give a star to anyone who finishes it!

What is your Stand On:

Short Answer: Pro-Abortion (Pro-Choice)
Long Answer: Let's get a couple of things straight off the bat --

  1. I think it is a fundamental Human Right for an individual to have responsibility over their own body. Period. If men could get pregnant, this would never have become the hot politi-religious subject it is. As slavery is abhorrent for the removal of an individual's right to their own life, the very idea of legislation regarding a woman's right to their own body is abhorrent.

  2. Some of the supposed 'nightmares' the religious fundies postulate should abortions be legal are outright lies and worse. While it is true that there are some girls who would think abortion as a 'easy fix' for living a dangerous lifestyle, they are far and away the exception rather than the rule. Even at a few weeks gestation, a female *feels* something there, and when its gone there is a hole left behind. It hurts. Any sane person who has gone through an abortion will not blithely choose to do it again. I had a close friend go through with it, so I got the emotional backlash from the experience -- she was very pragmatic about the circumstance, understood the pros and cons of her two options (abortion or going to term, that is) and chose the abortion. She still needed grief counseling for a while to work all the emotions out.

  3. Women have been performing abortions on themselves for thousands of years, regardless of any societal legalities. Making abortions illegal will not stop them anymore than the current gun laws stop criminals from possessing (and committing crimes with) guns, it'll just go back underground into the very grim and risky world of black-market medicine. Personally, I'd rather a female have the safety of a proper doctor's office than some dark alley and the reliability of proven methods than a rusty coat hanger.

  4. Any morality issues about 'when does human life begin' are outside the bounds of government -- that's a philosophical and/or theological issue that has no place in the province of laws intended to keep the infrastructure of a society functioning. There's a very good reason our Founding Fathers wanted to keep "Church and State" separate, and this issue is a good example.

Death Penalty:
Short Answer: Yes.
Long Answer: Amazing, isn't it? That someone who is Pro-Choice is also for the Death Penalty? It doesn't contradict my philosophy or moral beliefs. Humanity forgets that it is an animal, it chooses to rationalize that having the faculty for reason is reason enough to qualify it outside the realm of 'animal'. Crime, the desire and will to do it, is a form of sickness -- a societal sickness, something that harms the group (more on that later).

In the wild, sick animals die by predation or ostrification from the group itself. A sick entity doesn't help the group and can hinder its survival and growth. Now, humanity has developed this thing called civilization, where individuals support each other and are benefited by the association. Civilized folk try to heal the sick rather than just kill them out of hand... but there is a limit to what can be healed, as well. Not all the sick can be healed -- we try our best to save as many as we can, and regret our helplessness for those we cannot. If prisons truly were a place for rehabilitation -- for healing that social sickness -- it would be easier to spot the 'incorrigible', those who are too sick to be helped. Perhaps then, the Death Penalty would be seen as a mercy. But my view of prisons is for another day... but my opinion of the Final Punishment is not.

The current legal system works very hard to prevent an innocent from dying for a crime they did not commit, in spite all the fantastic hollywood stories that make it seem otherwise (yes, I intentionally did not capitalize the 'H' in 'hollywood', to indicate a mode of thought rather than the actual place). If, in spite all the appeals, stays, pleas, and injunctions, a person is still on Death Row, they probably deserve to be removed from society in the most permanent fashion. If they believe in reincarnation, perhaps they may learn from the experience and live a new life as a productive citizen of their group on the next turn of the wheel.

Short Answer: Legalize and Industrialize it
Long Answer: Just like abortion, prostitution has been around for thousands of years, literally. As a group of behavioral researchers discovered when they studied chimps and the use of 'money' (i.e., a otherwise meaningless token used in the exchange of goods), Prostitution really is the world's oldest profession!

Seriously, though, the puritanical notion that the human body is evil/unclean/sinful and therefore anything that capitalizes on those baser instincts must be evil/immoral/illegal is sad. Like abortion, this is a case of someone else telling an individual what they can or cannot do with their own body, using morality as their rationalization for this travesty. If prostitution were legalized, the nature of the beast will naturally change -- from being an seamy vice to being a business. A legal Sex Profession industry would reduce STDs (as in Holland where regular medical checkups are required), bring in more revenue for local and federal agencies (reporting it on tax forms like any other 'expense' or 'income'), and would lighten the load of law enforcement so they could focus on much more criminal offenses.

Short Answer: And?
Long Answer: There's a theory that alcohol was the catalyst that started the first hunter-gatherers to form villages and create agriculture. It is the oldest mind-altering substance in human history, evolving into thousands of variations based on grains, fruits, tubers, and whatever local vegetation can ferment. As long as there are humans, there will be alcohol. But there's a big difference between this stated fact, and how a society deals with it. I firmly belief that education, communication, and understanding are the key components to solve all of society's ills -- and that is what's needed to stop the rampant alcoholism.

Alcoholism is just another form of drug abuse, but we'll get to that in a minute. It is well known that among families that have religious ceremonies where children participate in drinking alcohol with the adults, there is a lower incidence of alcoholism among those children when they become adults. Why? Because the parents taught the children from the very beginning how to respect what alcohol is, and what it can do. Because of that, those children understand that the effects of alcohol are only temporary, don't solve any problems, and create new ones if abused... so they don't use alcohol to escape from their problems (which is how most alcoholics get started on abusing it).

Regarding my personal usage: I'm allergic to sulfites, which is found in most beers and wines. While I can and do drink distilled forms of alcohol (mostly liqueurs), my yearly consumption wouldn't fill a teacup. I think I've had more alcohol this year than any previous time in my life, if only because I'm a culinary student working at an exclusive golf club that prides itself on its extensive wine collection, so I've been attending the wine tasting lectures Greg does with his front-of-house staff (after suitably dosing myself before and after to prevent a reaction). To be honest, my biggest problem has been eating salads at work -- we make all dressings from scratch, and that includes the Red Wine Vinaigrette (which isn't cooked, so the sulfites don't get a chance to evaporate into the air before I ingest it) -- if I forget my extra-dosage of meds, I break out in hives. Not a pretty sight.

Short Answer: Legalize it!
Long Answer: The lowly hemp plant used to be considered a wonderful renewable resource crop in the US, once upon a time. I don't know the details about the who, what, where, or why on how 'weed' became so maligned and demonized, but I do know that it's all smoke and mirrors (okay, mostly smoke...) As Penn and Teller pointed out in a recent episode of "Bull$h*t!" , several prominent and trustworthy professionals of various branches of study (chemistry, narcotics, ethics, etc.) have delved deep into the marijuana issue from various angles and find that there are medical benefits, there are no addictive effects like true narcotics, and that nobody has ever died from an overdose of weed.

Like so many of the 'moral illegalities' (like prostitution), making marijuana illegal has done nothing to reduce the (illegal) usage of it, and has only spurred on the black market elements -- which is the REAL social problem that needs to be dealt with. Because it's illegal, it's outside the law and therefore there's no real control over it. As the famous gangsters reaped in the profits of Prohibition, the only thing this 'Drug War" has done is given street gangs a profitable means of income to outfit themselves in the latest in "Terrorize The Neighborhood" accessories. Once again, I repeat: What a person does to one's own body should not be legislated. Period. As long as a person doesn't harm another person, it shouldn't matter what they do to themselves. And if it was legal, people who needed help could get it easily, it would make the black market value dissapear which in turn would seriously hamper the gangland elements.

Other Drugs:
Short Answer: Legalize with controls
Long Answer: Drugs -- an edgy subject indeed. Everyone uses drugs, be it illegal, legal, prescription, or over the counter. Pain killers like aspirin is a drug, and yet when someone says "Drugs", it's immediately assumed to mean "the abuse of illegal narcotic addictive chemical compounds". People abuse perfectly legit legal prescription drugs, let alone the illegal ones. Abuse is the word here, and abuse means "1) A corrupt practice or custom; 2) improper or excessive use or treatment"

I believe most abuse stems from a fundamental misunderstanding, a flawed perception, and as such can be helped through education, communication, and understanding. But that does require assistance, and villianizing the abuse makes the abusing individual feel that they're scum -- nobody wants to think they are less than they are (for whatever reason) and so it's that much harder to actually heal these people. Legalize all drugs, but do something useful like applying a "Recreational Drug Tax" to them, make it significantly higher for known addictive drugs like cocaine and heroine, then use the tax money generated to fund rehabilitation services, educational services, and so forth.

Heck, half the reason kids get involved with illegal substances is because they're illegal -- that teenage anti-authority urge. Doing something illegal is cool because it's giving The Finger to Authority. Take away that naughtiness, and the desire goes away as well. Sure, you'll always have a percentage of folks who experiment, and you'll always have a few folks with Addictive Personality Syndrome that use drugs as their focus, but the total number of users will simply peter off because it won't be 'cool' anymore. They'll just go find something else to demonstrate their rebellion with. And making it legal means disparate folks won't do desperate things to other people just to gather enough money for another hit -- they would have prescriptions like any other drug, been seen by a doctor (or psych) on a routine basis to determine if the usage is becoming abusage and if so, to stop it before it gets to devastating levels. It's really that simple.

Gay Marriage:
Short Answer: Why not?
Long Answer: First off, for those who don't know their history, let's recap: MARRIAGE is "1) : the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law" (after all, to "marry" two object together simply means to make them one) and a WEDDING is "1 : to take for wife or husband by a formal ceremony". Notice that nowhere in either definition are the words "holy" or "religious" found.

Marriage was originally a legal-binding contract drawn up by the two families while the bride and groom are still children (often, infants) as a security and promise to consolidate their power, help each other in times of war, etc. When the prospective couple were of 'legal age', they would then have a formal ceremony to confirm the agreement before witnesses. That's it. Those who want "the sacrament of marriage" to "remain holy" are lying to themselves. It was never holy; Weddings were usually performed in churches so that their god may be a witness to the agreement (and who wants to break a promise that was witnessed by god, right?). The illusion of something sacred in the joining of two lives into one came into being when people started choosing partners on their own, instead of being pawns in a tribal chess game. (Actually, there is something sacred in the joining, but that's on a most personal level and shouldn't be dictated by some outside force to define it).

Fine, if you want to keep your illusion, it's simple: Don't call it "marriage". Call it "civil union", or "equitable merger" or "hand fasting" or whatever ... it doesn't have to use the same name. "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet" and all that.

Regarding gays/lesbians/bisexual folks of any stripe, I say to you holier-than-thou types who claim being gay is a sin against god: as the elderly church ladies said in the movie Jeffrey - "The only true blasphemy is the refusal to accept Joy".

Illegal Immigrants:
Short Answer: They're here for a reason: either remove the reason for them to leave home or acknowledge them here.
Long Answer: This one's a little tricky to answer cleanly, but I'll try. Unless you are a descendant of the original Native Americans, you are (or your ancestors were) an immigrant. Actually, so were the Native Americans, they just walked across the Alaskan Land Bridge some 15,000 years before the Europeans found the continent. Now, people just walking into unknown territory don't have the usual 'legalities' -- or more accurately, their legal claims only work within their native culture. And since Europeans didn't acknowledge any other culture as being at the same level of 'human' as they were, naturally they didn't bother to find out if the 'natives' minded them stumbling into their villages to pillage, plunder, and plan for return trips in the name of exploration. It was "uninhabited" as far as the Europeans were concerned, because there were no other Europeans there, just these darker-skinned human-looking savages. From that point of view, everyone with European bloodlines are 'illegal immigrants'. But that's not really the way it works.

In spite all the anti-American sentiment thrown at us on the news, most of the people of the "second" and "third" world nations envy us. They see America as the land of opportunity, a chance to live beyond day-to-day survival. They come here for the same reasons our ancestors did: to start a new life filled with possibilities. While most of the 'illegal' population are Hispanic, oddly enough the second largest 'illegal' population is Canadian. Why? Because we literally rub shoulder-to-shoulder with them, and they get a closer view of America than most the rest of the world doesn't, and it still compares better to them than their native country. My house mate Wolf is originally from Canada, and recalls when his home province had a 25% unemployment rate. The only time we were ever that bad was the Great Depression. I think when the economic analysts settle on final numbers for the Little Depression (or the Technology Implosion, as I like to call it) of the late 90's, they'll find that the unemployment rate for the country as a whole was under 20%, and probably under 15% (don't quote me on that, though... I'm not an economic analyst).

A common complaint is that "illegal workers are stealing jobs from citizens".... but what I see is that illegal workers accept jobs that nobody else wants, and is happy to get paid the often-sub-minimum wages, because it's still miles ahead of where they were in their native country. Because they are 1st Generation immigrants, they appreciate the potential that America can provide for them: they are hard workers, diligent and often quite personable. But, because they're not citizens, often they are without medical and health insurance, are afraid to seek medical help for fear of being deported, and don't have the shelter of unions or legal aid to protect them from employer abuses. It was noted in California after Governor Wilson's anti-immigrants bill went through to deny illegals basic medical services, a report was circulating that showed the biggest vectors for infectious diseases was that population -- like the new drug-resistant TB. It's not only a problem for the illegal alien population but for the legal citizenry as well! How can you prevent an epidemic when you don't allow part of the population access to vaccinations?

Now, the thing I said above about "removing the reason" is an unsavory one for folks who think the US is already sticking its nose into places it shouldn't go, but the only long term solution to halt illegal immigration is to assist their native countries' economies and practices so that they will become economically viable -- teach the other countries some business skills, invest some money, get them on their feet. Make it desirable to stay there and succeed rather than take the dangerous trek here because it's a better deal that makes the risk acceptable. This is "enlightened despotism" at its best, doing what seems altruistic in the short term that becomes wildly profitable in the long run.

Short Answer: I don't, but I won't stop you.
Long Answer: Again, what a person does to their own body is their right -- but that right ends where my health concerns begins. And that's not a general blanket 'health concerns", that's me personally. I've developed asthma in the years I've been living in Jersey, but I've always been sensitive to cigarette smoke. It's not tobacco, it's everything else. I've had that proven to me by friends who smoke an expensive all-natural 100% pure tobacco cigarette. As I respect your right to give yourself cancer, you should respect my right to breathe. That's how civilization works.

Now, regarding the draconian laws being enacted... Even if I don't smoke, if I was the owner of a restaurant I would want to have a smoking section for those patrons. It's common-sense business. I wouldn't put the smoking section between the entrance and the non-smoking section, I'd have the air circulation system properly tuned to prevent the smoke from getting into the non-smoke section, and I'd be very strict about anyone trying to smoke in the non-smoking section. But I would still allow a smoking section, because it's not my right to make you change your habits just because I don't like them.

Drunk Driving:
Short Answer: Don't.
Long Answer: Why do people drive drunk? 1) Because they drink alone and therefore don't have a designated driver to help them, 2) The public places to drink are often legislated to be outside of residential areas, forcing a drive rather than a walk, 3) They are an alcoholic and cannot handle any stresses (including driving) without a little alcohol to boost their confidence. I think Number 2 is the actual root of the problem, and it goes back to Alcohol in general -- some well-meaning but clueless people believe that if a bar (or pub) was allowed to be in a residential area, that it would encourage kids to get drunk and bring a dangerous element into the neighborhood. Both of which are nonsense. Kids get drunk because their friends do it or they're hurting and it stops the hurt... and the more you hide it and profess ignorance about it, the more likely the kid will go looking for it on their own. If you don't have to drive to visit the bar, there's no reason to be in a car to get home... bars are businesses, and just like everyone else they want to succeed and be well thought-of in the communities they are located in.

British Pubs are an amazing venue: part bar, restaurant, and part community center. Children are seen there among the adults, doing their own thing and playing their games, oblivious to the pints of lager being imbibed by their parents. Why does this work? Because children, in their wonderfully massive learning system, pick up unconscious cues as well as learned behaviors. A proper pub isn't a meat market where lonely and desperate people use spirits to get up the courage to actually interact with a potential partner. It's a family place that just happens to server alcoholic beverages. There's no stigma attached to either drinking nor being in a place that serves alcoholic drinks, and so the children are inured to it.

The world isn't made of nerf; nothing you do or say will change that. But hiding the sharp edges isn't helping the kid; it's only stunting their development. Just as pain is Nature's natural learning device, social cues of stigma and shame are confusing concepts to a young child and enticement for older teens. Take away the stigma, fear, shame and ignorance, and you'll find that the kids will do just fine on their own. Alcohol's component ingredients don't appeal to children -- biology dictates a young body needs short-chains of energy producing substances, and alcohol won't do that for them, but sugar will (which is why young kids naturally prefer sweet things). So, until their taste buds mature enough to actually appreciate the subtleties, it's just not interesting to them at that level. And if you don't provide alternative paths to fuel their curiosity about it, things will progress in a natural state and very likely will result in a responsible adult.

Short Answer: Yes to science!
Long Answer: I don't know how many people have ever really thought of the possibilities here, so let me offer one I rarely hear about: cloning technology doesn't mean that it *must* be a complete lifeform. Sure, it's the easiest path, but it's not the only path. Cloning technology could end the Organ Replacement crisis we're having -- your body is much more likely to accept a clone of your own organ rather than risk it rejecting an organ from someone else. Science fantasies of eternal life through cloning aside, morality issues aside, "Godsend" aside, the technology that will develop through the research has enormous potential. Without the presidential push to reach the Moon in the 1960's, we wouldn't have much of today's technology (smaller electronic components, microwaves, teflons, etc.)

Short Answer: It has no place in a functioning society.
Long Answer: As an alien observer from another world, I have a hard time comprehending the concept. As a sensitive caucasian woman whose true love for over two decades is black, I've actually had to deal with the issue head on. I still have a hard time comprehending the concept. People are people, it doesn't matter what color the skin, where they originally came from, or whatever.

Ethnocentrism, bigotry, racism are forms of xenophobia - the fear of anything alien, foreign, or different. Once upon a time there was a good reason to have fear of the unknown, but that reason hasn't been valid in millenia. Change is scary, but necessary; new and different ideas radically improve a society's survival level; we are increased by the richness and variety. You can't have that in a racist environment -- as seen in nature, isolated groups don't evolve well. they usually stagnate and die out. It has no more validity in a functioning society than the cruelty of a child does: it is an immature response centered around oneself, therefore it's not in society's best interest.

For heavens sake, people, there are enough things to fear without creating a nightmare specter of someone just because they're different than you. The world is a deadly place as it is, it doesn't need any help.

Pre-Marital Sex:
Short Answer: Why not?
Long Answer: Another puritanical idea based on the concept that the body is an evil/unclean/sinful thing. While I would hope that a relationship is founded on more than just a good lay, the physical aspects of a relationship should not be ignored, either. Humans are sensual creatures: we need that physical contact with others, the reassurance that we are not alone. This goes deep into our biology, a primal need.

Regarding Sex in general: Sex and Love are two vastly different things. They can compliment each other, but you can have either one without the other. Sex is a physical function of the body; Love is a psychological phenomena that has physical and emotional components. Sex can be for procreation or for pleasure, it can be a token of love for one person and a carnal release for another. Love can inspire Sex just as Sex can bloom into Love. It's when we equate the two that troubles start -- "I need sex to feel loved", "You won't go to bed with me because you don't love me", "I'll only have sex with my true love, when I find them" are all indicative of this trouble. The person who needs sex to feel loved has tied their self esteem into what others think of them (not very healthy thinking); the person who manipulates the relationship using sex as a means of control really doesn't know what love is; and the romantic that thinks they should abstain from any physical contact until they find Mr. or Mrs. Right is lying to themselves and pretty much guaranteeing a solitary life. I've seen all three scenarios in action, and the result are never healthy for the individual involve nor the people they interact with.

Short Answer: Anti-Organized-Religion
Long Answer: I am a spiritualist, my beliefs are my own, there is no one path that I follow. I was born to a "Passive" Irish Roman Catholic mother (someone who goes to church on Sundays and holy days because of habit more than faith) and to a deeply religious father who was of the Methodist faith.

I grew up watching hypocrisy in action, culimating in my Confirmation into the church when my favorite Carmelite Nun (who had been with our church for years helping Sunday School classes) was to pose The Question to me (to confirm that I was a good catholic). I waited for at least five minutes in silence before she said "I can ask you any question about the Bible, and I know you would be able to answer it in detail. But I don't think you believe. Think about that for a while." Then she signed the paper to allow me to be confirmed. I have thought about it, and stayed with the church for a few years after that, solely to sing in the Adult Choir, before finally moving on -- and away -- from the church. In the intervening years, I have met people and experienced things that have broadened my perceptions of the world at large, and it has reinforced my opinion that while everyone needs something to believe in, being led like sheep is not healthy for the individual. And that's what most organized religions do -- they don't want you to question doctrine, they want you to obey and follow.

Now, I'm not saying that all christians or muslems or jews are dumb creatures waiting for the slaughter. No. I'm saying that the main format of those religions do not encourage individual growth. I know folks from each of those 'major faiths' that have thought of how the religion fits with them, and they chose to take the parts that worked best without taking on the rest of the baggage. They are still good members of said faith, even if they don't follow all the strictures. I also know folks who hop from one religion to another as the wind blows, trying to find the perfect escape from their problems. Religion isn't the answer -- it's only an instructional guide on how to find the answer, which is different for every person.

War in Iraq:
Short Answer: Grrrr...
Long Answer: I think that the war was started for the wrong reasons, but there was a good reason to go to war. I just wish the government would grow some balls and admit it. If the US has become the world's policing force, then dammit do the job right. No pussyfooting around, no mincing words and cajoling other nations to agree with our plans.

I know that sounds harsh, but one of the biggest reasons we have so much trouble in the MIddle East is because of fundamental cultural differences in how to use force -- desert tribal warfare is all out, no holding anything back. If you claim you have something lethal and don 't use it, it's probably a bluff; If you're hurt you make it appear worse than it seems to get as much compensation from the offender as possible. Theirs is a harsh environment and they haven't left that behind like the european world has, and so there is conflict. Heck, if oil hadn't been discovered in the Golden Crescent, many of these 'nations' wouldn't exist -- they'd still be in their nomadic tribal state.

Short Answer: ...more like a shrubbery...
Long Answer: I have a problem watching someone pretend to be something they're not, like "W" playing cowboy even though he's culturally from the northeast. Living in Texas a few months out of the year does not make you a die-hard Texan. Sorry. I've been living in Jersey for eight years now, and I'm still very much a Californian transplanted here. I'm not about to go around pretending to be a cousin of the Sopranos, for heavens sake.

In political demographics, I'm a Constitutionalist, so I really frown on any talk about modifying that sturdy document, let alone any shallow, bigoted, or religious ideas being proposed to be added. The Constitution is not typeset in Microsoft Word for easy editing: It's not SUPPOSED to be. That's all I'll say about that.

Downloading Music:
Short Answer: A complex issue
Long Answer: I firmly believe in Shareware -- you know, those nifty little programs you can download for free, work with for awhile, and if you like it you send money (or postcards, or whatever the author of the program has in mind) to register it. Shareware works. And if downloaded music was treated the same way, I'm sure it'd work as well. I hear more people have bought CDs after they've heard a few tracks that were downloaded. Heck, that's what I did with a couple of artists because a friend's collection of MP3s had some cool tracks and so I researched them for more. How many people remember the old days, when you made a cassette-tape copy of a record or a friend's record? It's really not much different than that.

But this is the Age of Information, and everyone wants to find gold in the Datastream... Music companies claim they're losing millions by these thefts-- I'd like to see their books to see how that works. The people scamming music wouldn't have bought it even if the internet wasn't around, so where's that loss coming from? Other people (like me) trade interesting tracks with friends like we've done for decades, and if said friend likes the track, they'll go buy the disk to hear more. So, where's that new profit going?

Now, on the other end of this argument is Intellectual Rights, something I'm rather sensitive about. The information found on the net didn't just appear; someone had to produce it. It belongs to someone. They may offer it freely, but that's a right they have to their own work only. Placing data (webpages, documents, art, music, etc.) on the Net doesn't make it Public Domain. Period. The caveat to this is that in most suits regarding Intellectual Property Rights, the offender has to have been making a profit by using the IP without the owner's permission (that profit may not necessarily be monetary, but there is still something to gain) , and most of the music swapping going on has little-to-no profit involved.

Legal Drinking Age:
Short Answer: errr...
Long Answer: In a truly responsible world, there'd be no legal drinking age at all. But we haven't reached that mecca, so having a law for the minimum age to drink is necessary. What I don't understand is the various numbers being used to define 'adult', though: As of 16, you are no longer required to attend school; 18 is the nominal age of majority; 21 to drink, 25 to drive without a adult in the car...? In Europe, the official age of majority is 16, which includes drinking, military duties, the works. We should at least use a single number to denote Adult Responsibilities... which should include the right to drink, smoke, vote, and everything else. Since 18 is the most widely recognized age in the US to denote an adult, it should also be the age a person can legally drink.

Short Answer: More? :D
Long Answer: Another of the puritanical concepts... who does porn hurt? It doesn't degrade women', although it objectifies everyone. I've never heard of someone being forced to watch porn, or someone being killed because of porn. Outside of people being forced to do porn, which is a different issue and should be illegal anyways, Porn itself does not put others at risk. It may not be to everyone's tastes, and that's fine. Viva la difference.

Internet Porn Sites that spam email boxes, trick the unsuspecting browser into a trap, and use other less-than-savory means of advertisement should be punished. Not because they are porn, mind you, but because they are maliciously harming others' computers by their actions.

Short Answer: Should not be illegal...
Long Answer: People who are suicidal need help, be it to save them from death or release them from the painful life. It has no reason to be illegal (it's your own body, after all, you should be able to do what you want with it, including ending it) and it certainly has no reason to be a sin (which it is in some religions) . The whole Dr. K thing is just a reminder of how many people out there are suffering and desire to end the pain for themselves and their families. When a youth wants to commit suicide, it's a tragedy that can possibly be avoided with counsellings and help. When an elder wants to commit suicide, it's usually because they see themselves as being a burden for their family to continue on, be it from illness or pain or even just the nightmare of a nursing home. I think it's sad either way, but I understand. I still believe my father committed suicide the day he tried to open the garage-door; his hands were useless from the ravages of ALS and he knew he didn't have the strength to open the door by himself, and yet he tried... and couldn't lift it high enough for the new spring-hinges to lock, so it fell on him. This was after 7 years of fighting the terminal disease, eventually being forced into medical retirement and having to watch what happened to our family without being able to help.

... it's been 19 years now, and I still miss him.

But I believe he had a good idea what he was doing and why he was doing it. And I respect that. How frustrating it must be, then, for someone in much worse physical shape than father was (after all, he was still able to walk, if shakily) who has thought the whole process through and wants to end their own and their family's suffering, but cannot because it's illegal. That's not right, in fact that's downright inhuman. Just because we have the technology to sustain a human body near indefinitely doesn't mean we should .

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