William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

Killing Children Legally In Belgium

Madam, your child appears insufficiently happy.

Madam, your child appears insufficiently happy.

Euthanasia, the purposeful killing of another human being supposing or claiming his consent, represents the triumph of utilitarianism. When a life is deemed no longer “useful” or capable of generating pleasure, that supreme goal which animates the lives of us Moderns, it is snuffed out and buried—though perhaps pieces of the body are first salvaged for use in other units.

Belgium now allows children to be killed by “doctors”, a profession once given to the preservation of life but now one, at least in Enlightened countries, equally devoted to taking it (don’t forget abortions), albeit in the most efficient cost-effective sanitary way possible. Oddly, in the countries where it still occurs, “doctors” are increasingly being used in executions, not just to certify death but to cause it. Makes a change from a firing squad manned by civilians ignorant of the finer points of human anatomy.

Anyway, if the Internet does not lie, the voting age in Belgium is 18. Marriage has to wait until 18, the same year one may begin a career as a prostitute. The legal age to attempt to create life is 16, the same age one is allowed to enter unguided into a dance contest. Children before these ages are deemed insufficiently ready to rise to the listed challenges.

But a child may request its own death at the hand of a Belgian “doctor” at any age. According to the article “Pediatric Euthanasia in Belgium: Disturbing Developments” in JAMA by Andrew Siegel and others, “In addition to requiring the child’s own voluntary and explicit request for euthanasia, the new law requires parental consent, excludes children with an intellectual disability or mental illness, and mandates a multidisciplinary team carefully examine the child’s capacity for discernment.”

Have no fear. Experts are on the case. If the multidisciplinary team says the child knows what its doing when it asks to be slaughtered, then the child understands. The only real question is what sort of experience is required to be a member of a multidisciplinary team. Butcher? Chicago Alderman? Income tax bureaucrat? Driving instructor?

See how this sentence from Siegel grabs you: “In March 2005, recognizing the rising incidence of pediatric euthanasia without any legal sanction, physicians at the University Medical Center of Groningen, in the Netherlands, published practice guidelines for the ethical implementation of euthanasia for severely disabled newborns.” This is called the Groningen Protocol.

Wait. The rising incidence of pediatric euthanasia without any legal sanction? I don’t know about you, but the last place I’d want to take my kid in the Netherlands is to the “doctor.”

Not to unduly highlight the city, but this is like saying “Recognizing the rising incidence of murder without legal sanction, politicians in Chicago published practice guidelines for the ethical implementation of the killing of South Side residents” and calling these guidelines the Chicago Protocol. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em?

Siegel and friends agree with history: “[Children] lack the intellectual capacity to develop a sophisticated preference against palliative interventions of last resort. Instead, in the case of the new Belgian law, children seem to be asked to choose between unbearable suffering on the one hand and death on the other.”

And: “The criterion related to the ‘capacity for discernment’ runs the risk of ignoring the fact that children and adolescents lack the experiential knowledge and sense of self that adults often invoke—rightly or wrongly—at the end of their lives.”

Since Siegel is himself a physician, he couldn’t bring himself to admit, in print anyway, that doctors are often wrong about their diagnoses and prognoses in end-of-life illnesses. Death, unless there be divine intervention, is still the one unrecoverable mistake. So he and his co-authors, both ethicists like Yours Truly, argue instead of resorting to the knife, “aggressive” palliative care should be used to relieve pain. “Such interventions are far more ethical than allowing clinicians to euthanize children who do not possess the cognitive and emotional sophistication to either need or comprehend what they might appear to seek.”

I am glad to see these words in so prominent a journal. It means hope is not yet lost. I can’t help but find them a delaying action, though. American elites are jealous of European innovations and hate to see themselves left behind in any cause du mort. Given their penchant for redefining reality, it can’t be too much longer before we see editorials entitled, “Let Poor Susie Die.”

UpdateSwiss group to allow assisted dying for elderly who are not terminally ill: Exit adds ‘suicide due to old age’ to its statutes…” When you gotta go, you gotta go.

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Thanks to Bruce Foutch @ChristosArgyrop for alerting us to this article.

42 Comments

  1. Same old indeed. I am reading Edwin Black’s War Against The Weak.

  2. @HANS Erren:
    Same old? Yep agreed. In the old days we did not murder iur sick children and infirm old people. Instead we took care of them.

  3. Brandon Gates

    May 31, 2014 at 11:35 am

    Briggs,

    Euthanasia, the purposeful killing of another human being supposing or claiming his consent, represents the triumph of utilitarianism. When a life is deemed no longer “useful” or capable of generating pleasure, that supreme goal which animates the lives of us Moderns, it is snuffed out and buried—though perhaps pieces of the body are first salvaged for use in other units.

    Euthanasia, a euphamism for medical suicide by consenting adults, is not something I associate with utilitarianism. Just as humans are sovereign in their right to persue life and happiness free of undue interference from others, they are free to take their own life without the same interference.

    Unfortunately, the laws of this country in most places does not see things the same way that I do. And somewhat like the times before Roe v. Wade when killing unborn children was unsupervised, dangerous, and needlessly barbaric, when an adult wants to end their own life for reasons that are theirs and theirs alone to own, non-medically assissted suicide is a messy, uncertain, and often cruel business that places undue burdens upon those of us left behind.

    I’ll not argue the case for Belgian minors wanting to end their own lives. Your arguments on that point are sound. But conflating that with adult euthanasia is improper and detracts from discussing either issue sensibly. At least for me.

  4. Brandon Gates

    May 31, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    Alex, I don’t know where you live or what you have seen. If someone has killed an old person or child who was sick who did not wish to die, then it is murder and I would join you in roundly condemning them and shoving them into a very dark and lonely hole for the rest of their natural life.

    A mentally competent adult requesting to be killed by someone medically qualified to do it reliably and painlessly does not constitute an act of murder. Nor does it necessarily implicate any family or friends as careless accessories to murder.

    This is not to say that voluntary assisted suicide is a matter that should be taken lightly, or rushed into unthinkingly without frank, honest and caring discussions with all involved. Death is always tragic, even when it is peaceful and without pain from natural causes. However, it is usually neither peaceful nor painless. And it is often too sudden or unpredictable for loved ones to have an opportunity to make their peace, express their love and say their goodbyes.

    Keeping a terminally ill patient alive against their wishes is cruel and barbaric, especially if they are in an extreme amount of pain. Such a scenario does not constitute caring for their well being. It is anything but an empathetic or charitable act to force someone to live who does not want to.

    Withholding aggressive life support efforts by a patient’s wishes is better. But lingering slow death can be awful, for both the dying patient and the loved ones who survive having witnessed it.

    Definitions of caring, charity, mercy, respect for life, selflessness and most of all undying love differ from person to person. There simply is no need to put anyone through this sort of additional trauma just because someone who thinks they know better about a situation considers it their business to do so.

    I respect all others beliefs in this matter even when I don’t agree with them. I would not ever condemn for any choice you made with respect to the death of one of your loved ones. Nor would I attempt to force you by law or other coercion to see things my way.

    Physician assisted suicide is illegal in all but four US states. I live in a state where it is illegal. And I deeply resent that the people who wrote those misguided and barbaric laws have taken it upon themselves to dictate to me and my family what we can or cannot do to determine our own inevitable fate, on our own terms, as we best see fit.

  5. Sander van der Wal

    May 31, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    This about children who are terminally ill, in a situation where they cannot be cured from their illness, and when they are suffering severly.

    Basically it is about the choice of dying now as comfortably as possible given the circumstances, or dying a bit later, as comfortably as possible given the circumstances. References to people not being useful anymore are completely out of order.

  6. Just about the terminally ill? Not necessarily the case in Switzerland:

    http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/may/26/swiss-exit-assisted-suicide-elderly-not-terminally-ill

    However, to limit the conversation to the terminally ill, as defined by Sander van der Wal, ignores the reality of how easily these definitions are twisted and distorted by those kindly folks Brigg’s calls the ‘Experts’. And, what if 6 months from now a cure is found for an illness that is now considered terminal. Can we then look back and still justify the murder of an innocent? This is a slippery slope indeed.

  7. Brandon Gates

    May 31, 2014 at 4:16 pm

    Sander:

    This about children who are terminally ill, in a situation where they cannot be cured from their illness, and when they are suffering severly.

    I missed that nuance in the original story. I suspend my statement directed at Briggs, “I’ll not argue the case for Belgian minors wanting to end their own lives. Your arguments on that point are sound,” until I know more of the particulars.

    I have witnessed with my own eyes the horrors of children having untreatable terminal illness being cruelly subjected to aggressive life support in an ICU in lieu of palliative care in a hospice setting.

    Basically it is about the choice of dying now as comfortably as possible given the circumstances, or dying a bit later, as comfortably as possible given the circumstances. References to people not being useful anymore are completely out of order.

    Thoroughly out of order.

  8. Brandon Gates

    May 31, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    Bruce:

    However, to limit the conversation to the terminally ill, as defined by Sander van der Wal, ignores the reality of how easily these definitions are twisted and distorted by those kindly folks Brigg’s calls the ‘Experts’.

    I’m guessing that you really just don’t know what you’re talking about.

    And, what if 6 months from now a cure is found for an illness that is now considered terminal. Can we then look back and still justify the murder of an innocent?

    If it is not your child, or adult relative, it’s none of your business, and best you stay out of it. When it is your child or relative, you then are fully justified to reject expert opinion and make your own decision.

    This is a slippery slope indeed.

    Not if I had anything to do about it. My stance is that my life is my business, and mine alone, to decide whether to end or not. I extend the same right to all others. If you choose to suffer a long and agonizing death in the hospital, that is your business and I will gladly pay my share of the medical costs to support you in it.

    If you try to keep me from dying peacefully and as painlessly as possible in my own bed, or wherever I choose, at the hand of a physician or not, you would probably not want to be anywhere within earshot of me.

  9. Abortion was supposed to be unsupervised, dangerous and barbaric. It kills a helpless human life. Making it “nice” is counter productive. Same for an adult killing themselves. The idea that humans imposing death on themselves or others should be neat and tidy is horrifying. This may be from human’s charming ability to see another species (dog or cat) as their offspring, friend, etc and they are used to killing said “child” or “friend” when they determine it’s time, but humans are not pets.

    The euthanasia of a terminally ill person, just as the terminally ill pet, is generally for the comfort of those around, not the person themselves. You can argue all you want about suffering, but the only people who really suffer are those who watched. The dead cannot suffer and how you die matters not. Once you’re dead, whether by being hit by a bus, or from a three year battle with cancer, all things are equal. Considerations for suffering only affect the living, never the dead. If euthansia is in fact for the benefit of those watching, imagine how far that can be stretched.

    I also really hope the hypocratic oath has been discontinued.

    (Bruce—very well said.)

  10. I saw only a reference to ‘aggressive palliative care’ in the Briggs’ essay. Nowhere did I see mention of or argument for aggressive life support.

  11. Brandon Gates

    May 31, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    I introduced the topic of aggressive life support not in direct response to Briggs, but as my own addition to the conversation based on what I have lived and experienced over the course of 5 years of seeing it in a pediatric hospital setting. The final year of my tenure there I was exposed to it nearly every day.

    Just one day’s volunteer work in an ICU would give anyone here infinitely more direct experience with the actual issues at hand have they not previously experienced it for themselves. I don’t get the sense that Briggs, you or others, who rightfully and understandably express fears of euthanasia, have any such personal and direct experience.

    To see just one time the faces of doctors, nurses and caregivers when they lose a patient, especially a young child, will tell you all you need to know about the compassion and respect they have for the sanctity of life.

  12. Sylvain Allard

    May 31, 2014 at 5:55 pm

    The law in Belgium is more complex than lead to believe. From interviewed of a sponsor of the law heard on the radio.

    To be able to euthanize the person must have an incurable illness that is degrading the autonomy of the person and has no known cure. Lou Gherig disease is such an example. The application is very restrictive and can be considered has mercy killing. It is not because someone want to die that he will be euthanized.

  13. Let the children suffer, after all Jesus also suffered also 18 hours.

  14. Brandon,

    My apologies for any offense. I had a clear vision of responding to only the role of governments and bureaucracies in my comments, but see from your comments that my words were unclear to my intent and that they were also taken personally. In fact, in reading your response I see that my comment about the cure in six months is misplaced and tacky and I retract it. The power of this blog is that we can change as we read and learn from the views of others. So, please accept my apologies if I have offended you and understand I was only attempting to respond to the subject of the essay and the topic of governments/bureaucracies codifying life and death decisions. Unfortunately, my words don’t seem to have measured up.

    I actually, at 65, have much experience with cancer, extreme pain (including my own), and with hospice care. One case was terminal with excruciating pain involved and the choice was made by our family to provide no aggressive life support, just hospice, comfort, and pain relievers (the pain relievers were, unfortunately, not very effective.) Another case is my son who has survived brain cancer. This was a real lesson in how information and definitions get twisted and distorted to suit personal agenda within bureaucratic organizations (the point I was trying to make before)- in this case the agenda of the surgeons. We were convinced by a board of doctors to operate when it was reasonably certain less aggressive measures would work as well and pose much less risk. We were naive and chose their recommended course which has had serious long term negative consequences. Would the other course have been better? We can never know for sure and that will always nag at me.

    Again, I am sorry that you took my comments out of the context I intended. They were not intended to be personal. I would never condone interfering in your decisions regarding yourself or your family and in no way did I mean to imply that your life was any of my business. In fact, I am very much a supporter of personal liberty and personal responsibility in these matters. And, if it were in my power, which apparently thanks to our government’s healthcare program it is not, I would never ask you or anyone else to share the costs to support prolonging my life.

  15. Brandon Gates

    May 31, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    Bruce: I was not personally offended by your comments, but I graciously accept your apology. This is a deeply personal issue for me, and I apologize in return for my harsh and terse reply. I have had deeply held convictions on these issues for several decades, and they have been twice relevant in my own life. My main intent here is to offer a counter-view and implore those who are concerned about government intrusion into such personal matters is something that I would stand with each and everyone here to oppose. I agree with you that this is the intent of blogs.

    While I’m at it, I wish Briggs to know that I appreciate his efforts, and enjoy participating here even when his stated opinions upset me.

    I’d like to respond to your personal circumstances when I’m more calm. Until then, my thoughts are with you and yours for all that you have faced.

  16. Brandon Gates

    May 31, 2014 at 8:00 pm

    Bruce, re: your son:

    We were convinced by a board of doctors to operate when it was reasonably certain less aggressive measures would work as well and pose much less risk. We were naive and chose their recommended course which has had serious long term negative consequences. Would the other course have been better? We can never know for sure and that will always nag at me.

    I was thoroughly out of line in my original responses to you.

    Surely you suspect, as do I, the true motives behind the red-tape. I cannot see how that didn’t bias the “expert” medical opinions that you were given. I wish it didn’t nag at you, but how could it not?

    I don’t know if there’s a better solution for this. I suspect that there really isn’t — even in the most perfect healthcare system, whatever form it takes — someone will always have the job of controlling costs. My father called those someones “bean counters” when their penny-wise-pound-foolishness got in the way of his research. (For a time, his lab was less than a block away from my own.) He still hates healthcare accountants. Intensely.

    I’m quite a bit more moderate than the old man, but that does not diminish from my own concerns on the life-saving and healing side of medical care. I don’t have direct experience you do being on the wrong-end of a surgeon’s “medical” opinion. Whatever the true reasons for their bad advice, it’s terrible that your son and family must now live with the consequences.

    And, if it were in my power, which apparently thanks to our government’s healthcare program it is not, I would never ask you or anyone else to share the costs to support prolonging my life.

    A position I fully respect and understand. I actually feel the same way, I wouldn’t want to overburden society with expensive medical treatment for an incurable and terminal disease.

    Socialized medicine only works if most everyone is willing to pay as much for the other as much or more as they would for themselves. Won’t ever happen. Whether that’s better than for-profit medical care is not entirely clear to me, but I lean left on most such matters by default.

    Obamacare is … who knows. An unwieldy bumbling drunk of a system if you ask me. I’m in a wait and see mode.

    I myself would not want to needlessly suffer to the bitter end, holding out hope for a miracle treatment or just a plain miracle. I myself nearly died in surgery 10 years ago, and spent three weeks in the hospital not knowing if I’d make it.

    If I knew I had a terminal condition, the decision would be easy: I’d have a big party, say my goodbyes, take a few months (if I had it) to get all my affairs in order and then end myself on my own terms, nowhere near a hospice or hospital hopped up on morphine which no hospice I’m aware of ever gives enough of.

    It enrages me that checking into a clinic to have it done painlessly by a medical professional is illegal in all but four states in the US.

    I’ve seen the other side too. One case will never leave me. 14 year old girl with an incurable lymphoid cancer that metastasised to her lungs. She was kept on aggressive home health care, at her parent’s out of pocket expense, for nearly two years. Fed intravenously and breathing through a tube near her end.

    I’d never seen so many upset pathologists before. I’d never seen one pathologist that upset, much less the entire department at the same time. Their visceral anger, horror and grief rattled me well out of the very same detachment I’d been learning from them. I grew up a lot that day.

    I don’t know the particulars of this law in Belgium. But if it’s in any way based on humane treatment of suffering children and their families, with triple-secure safeguards against financial motives, I would support it in a heartbeat.

  17. It still seems we are equating people and pets. We euthanize the pets “out of mercy” and now we do the same to humans. How long before the other less desirable behaviours we have toward animals start showing up with humans—or are we already seeing that?

  18. Brandon Gates

    May 31, 2014 at 9:18 pm

    Sheri,

    Perhaps there is some confusion in the ambiguity of the term. I’ll let Wiki do the walking:

    Euthanasia is categorized in different ways, which include voluntary, non-voluntary, or involuntary. Voluntary euthanasia is legal in some countries and U.S. states. Non-voluntary euthanasia is illegal in all countries. Involuntary euthanasia is usually considered murder.

    It’s the sense of the words in bold that I don’t want and would never, ever support.

  19. No, I am not confused by the terms. Volunteering to have someone kill you is still having someone kill another person. Other than in self-defense (including war and capital punishment), I find no justification for killing other people. The simple idea that giving permission makes everything okay doesn’t track for me.

    (I also refer to having a pet killed as having a pet killed, not euthanized or “put down” or whatever. Plus, it’s for my benefit, not the pet’s.)

  20. Brandon:

    Thank you for your kind words of concern and understanding. Your story about the young woman is quite moving , very sad, and, as you say, most upsetting.

    It is good that we can have these discussions in a polite and respectful way even if we find ourselves holding opposing views. I think all of us following this blog gain much from doing so.

  21. Brandon Gates

    May 31, 2014 at 10:28 pm

    Bruce: I’m glad we were both able to see the others POV and there were no further escalations. You have my thanks for bringing me back to centre. Overall, this blog does generate some of the best actual conversations and debates I’ve ever found.

    Looking back on that young woman, my heart goes out to her parents more than anything. I don’t agree with what they did, but either way their loss was terrible. It did impress upon me to make different decisions when the time came for me to do so, and I am glad that I was at least that prepared.

    Best regards.

  22. Brandon Gates

    May 31, 2014 at 10:35 pm

    Sheri, you should know by now I would never dispute the validity of your own beliefs and positions. They are yours and yours alone.

    I wanted to make sure we were clear on terminology to make certain I wasn’t talking past you. All I am asking for here is that you, anyone, would support me if someone close to me, and wholly unknown to you, asked me to kill them out of love, compassion and mercy for them.

    My promise is that I would never sanction state mandated “mercy” killings. It’s not my stance now, never has been, never will. I believe that anyone who advocates for legalized euthanasia would give you and everyone the same promise, and if they didn’t, they would have a BIG problem with me.

  23. Sander van der Wal

    June 1, 2014 at 2:03 am

    @Bruce Foutch

    Being terminally ill is a requirement of that particular law, in Belgium. Switserland is a differen country with their own laws.

    A cure suddenly becoming available in 6 months only happens in discussions, not in real life. In real life new treatments are being developed all the time, and at some point patients might be accepted in trials. I would imagine that having a trial becoming available means that the incurable requirement part of the law doesn’t fly. OTOH, being part of a trial does not mean you will be cured.

  24. Brandon: Sorry. I can no more support you killing someone for any reason other than self-defense or war than I can support you for stealing, lying, cheating, etc. I cannot support a position I consider morally incorrect and damaging to society. I’m not a follower of the Rodney King “Can’t we all just get along” school. I’m sure there are things you would not support even if they meant a lot to me. Acquiescing to every belief anyone wants top and center is never workable. If the Islams want female “circumcision” and marriage at age 10 by arrangement, are you diving in and voting to support them? Most people who argue that they are allowing others to do as they wish are really doing so only on a limited basis. If you are sincerely arguing that any belief is okay and should be supported, then I am sorry I misconstrued your intent. Either way, I am not supporting your decision to kill someone.

  25. Brandon Gates

    June 1, 2014 at 11:41 am

    Sheri,

    Here’s my definition: Evil is intentionally violating the will of another.

    My understanding of female circumcision is that girls do not choose to have it done to them. Their will has therefore been violated, and those who have done it have committed Evil.

    Same for arranged marriage.

    Neither of those situations apply to the subject at hand where the person in question wants to die.

    I do not think that people should be allowed to do anything they want to other people. If what is being done to the person on the receiving end of the doing is against that person’s will, then it is Evil.

  26. Brandon Gates

    June 1, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    PS: I am not asking you to change your beliefs on morality. Your beliefs are yours. I’m asking you to support my right to act according to my own beliefs for myself and my own family. With full reciprocity. I don’t have to agree with your beliefs to support your right to hold them and act on them as you wish. So long as neither of our actions directly affect the others immediate person or loved ones, there need not be any conflict of belief.

  27. Okay, Brandon, what happens when women insist on staying with men who beat them? They love the guy—is that acceptable? Our hospital had a nurse who did just that and her husband ended up shooting her while she was fleeing to the neighbors. She stayed out of choice and he had threatened to kill her before. (She was an adult with a good career, so the argument that she could not afford to leave is not applicable. She stayed by choice. She also left her two children in the house with the drunk husband when she ran to the neighbors.)
    I would also note that virtually everything done to children is against their will—which would make parenting evil. Parents drag kids to churches, sporting events, demand good grades, and on and on. Kids are notorious for not wanting to cooperate in these ventures. Would punishment for such behaviour then be evil? If a child cheats in school, he’s hurt no one, so can we punish that behaviour?
    Then there’s the questions of what if my neighbor decides to open a brothel next to my house? It’s imposed on me against my will. I don’t want it (actually, I ‘m really fond of the neighbor either, but that’s another story). Yet as long as it’s legal, I’m stuck. Is that evil?
    I’m just looking for where you think the line is with “imposed on against their will”. Much like you with global warming, I have a long history of dealing with people with unintergrated value systems. The first thing I look for is how well integrated the values are—and, yes, that’s probably a value judgement too. 🙂

  28. Your second comment popped up while I was typing. The whole idea that some actions can affect only those doing them is a bit shaky. We live in a society and a very open one. Plus, while it seems obvious that you do not share said belief, some people believe there is an absolute right and wrong and one part of that involves not killing other people.
    (Just as an aside, why do we call things “murder” and “euthanasia” but then “killing war” and “killing in self-defense”? Why did the language extract the word “killing” from the first two? I just find it interesting. Should we not use “killing a non-volunteer” and “killing a volunteer”? Probably not important, but my psych degree keeps pulling me back to the underlying language…)

  29. Brandon Gates

    June 1, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    Sheri:

    Okay, Brandon, what happens when women insist on staying with men who beat them? They love the guy—is that acceptable?

    She surely does not want to be beaten, therefore it is against her will, and therefore her abuser is doing Evil. Her choice to stay in that environment is irrelevant, and I do not blame victims. That is tantamount for blaming a rape victim for being too scantily dressed in the “wrong” part of town.

    Our hospital had a nurse who did just that and her husband ended up shooting her while she was fleeing to the neighbors. She stayed out of choice and he had threatened to kill her before.

    His Evil, 100%. I hope he rots in prison for the rest of his natural life.

    I would also note that virtually everything done to children is against their will—which would make parenting evil. Parents drag kids to churches, sporting events, demand good grades, and on and on. Kids are notorious for not wanting to cooperate in these ventures. Would punishment for such behaviour then be evil? If a child cheats in school, he’s hurt no one, so can we punish that behaviour?

    Those are excellent questions. Abandoning children who require adult support would likely kill them. Having been a child once, I assure you that it was my will to live. I did not want to go to church as a minor at various times, but was forced to against my will. That my parents fed and clothed me, and provided me with shelter allowing my survival offsets those things.

    It really hacks me off when non-theists call churchgoing “child abuse”. It detracts from physical, sexual and emotional child abuse that are unequiviocably Evil and damaging. On the whole, my church experiences have been a net benefit in my life despite significant bitterness for some of my childhood and early adult experiences. Others mileage may vary, but they know their own situation better than me, so I hold no global, general views on how a religious upbringing hurts or benefits children. Case by case basis, and wholly none of my business to poke into what other families have decided for themselves.

    There are edge cases. When religious beliefs threaten the health of a child because their parents refuse certain kinds of medical treatments known to be effective, I then generally approve of the state interceeding on behalf of the child at the expense of intruding on the parents’ religious beliefs.

    Then there’s the questions of what if my neighbor decides to open a brothel next to my house? It’s imposed on me against my will. I don’t want it (actually, I ‘m really fond of the neighbor either, but that’s another story). Yet as long as it’s legal, I’m stuck. Is that evil?

    Very tricky and complex. This is one reason municipalities have zoning laws. I would side with you in the case of a brothel next to your home. A business that does not already exist has less claim to a geographic location where others have previous and long-standing residential and/or commercial use of the same.

    Your next question is about emminent domain, isn’t it.

    I’m just looking for where you think the line is with “imposed on against their will”.

    It’s not meant to be exhaustive or nuanced. It’s black/white on purpose for brevity, which distills the concept of Evil down to its foundational essence.

    Good is similarly easy to define: treat others as they wish to be treated.

    Much like you with global warming, I have a long history of dealing with people with unintergrated value systems. The first thing I look for is how well integrated the values are—and, yes, that’s probably a value judgement too. 🙂

    It’s fine, Sheri. More than fine, it’s great. I’m happy to be tested and vetted in this fashion. It makes me think about my values, and where I find they’re not integrated, inconsistent, etc., I welcome it when others point it out to me.

    I’ll get to your other points in a bit. Cheers.

  30. Brandon Gates

    June 1, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    Sheri Part II:

    Your second comment popped up while I was typing. The whole idea that some actions can affect only those doing them is a bit shaky. We live in a society and a very open one. Plus, while it seems obvious that you do not share said belief, some people believe there is an absolute right and wrong and one part of that involves not killing other people.

    I understand why you would see it as shaky. I’m all too familiar with moral ambiguity in any society, particularly our own.

    Overall, I find that the US system of government and laws is well-designed to address moral conflicts. Or, from a similar perspective, to evaluate conflicts of the wills of individuals.

    Because we’re imperfect, our self-interests often take the form of selfishness. Particularly when unknown quantities cause us to become afraid of others motives. Fear often leads to anger, and then to improper exercise of force to bend others to our own will. Those unknowns can either be:

    1) not known with reasonable certainty because there is no precedent to draw upon
    2) incidental ignorance of reasonably certain knowns
    3) wilful ignorance of reasonably certain knowns which are contrary to what we believe reality ought to be, or want it to be.

    (3) is what drives most of our social, moral and ultimately political conflicts because it is the most difficult to resolve via discussion, negotiation and compromise.

    (1) is often unavoidable due to limitations of human perception, understanding as well as time/money resources. Sucky, but true. Don’t shoot the messenger in such cases.

    (2) is often easily rectified, but has a nasty habit of leading right into (3) on sufficiently charged and polarized issues.

    (Just as an aside, why do we call things “murder” and “euthanasia” but then “killing war” and “killing in self-defense”? Why did the language extract the word “killing” from the first two? I just find it interesting. Should we not use “killing a non-volunteer” and “killing a volunteer”? Probably not important, but my psych degree keeps pulling me back to the underlying language…)

    My Jewish housemate often tells me that the original Hebrew translates to “Thou shalt not murder”, instead of “kill”. I haven’t independently verified this, but it sure makes a lot of the rest of the Bible make more sense to me.

    The base psychology there pretty much has to be rooted in discomfort with our own mortality as well as empathy for our fellow humans. Being able to casually kill another human being with little or no provocation, or simply for the pleasure of doing so, is thankfully quite rare.

  31. Brandon: I consider people who approve of scantily dressed women parading about, especially in high schools and bars, and blame men for rape to either be in favor of women being raped, wanting to control others behaviours (that of the men) or completely ignorant of biology, or possibly a combination of all three. It’s a rediculous statement started by women who are in favor of men raping women so they can show how bad men are and stupid women followed it.

  32. Brandon Gates

    June 2, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    Sheri: I don’t disagree, but with my usual caution against presuming to know another’s mind. (Directed very much at myself too.)

    Along the same cautionary lines, some other possibilities (not exhaustive):

    1) Men and women (esp. parents, close relatives) wanting to control young women under the guise of “protecting” them, not just from rape but also consensual “fornication”.

    2) Men attempting to justify their actions in date rape scenarios by arguing that how the woman was dressed, where she was, and how she was acting somehow constituting consent.

    (1) especially is an appeal to the just world hypothesis — people get what they deserve. In the case of victim blaming, particularly on this issue, the backlash of moral outrage is understandable, and quite possibly warranted.

    I try to adopt a milder default position. Thinking in terms of a just world is an emotional defence against the visceral fear of an obviously unjust world.

    Regardless, blaming a victim of any crime against their person is an especially damaging addition of insult to injury. Those who blame the victim need to be encouraged to not do so. If gentle persuasion doesn’t get it, I have an awfully big verbal stick at the ready, and a will to use it.

  33. Brandon: Some could argue that it’s a parents duty to protect their child from consensual fornication if the parents believe that will condemn their child to hell. Whether or not the religious view is correct is not relevant. Parents have the right to teach and protect their children, unless the government usurps that right. There is a very slippery slope when that happens–that is from empirical evidence, not just a theory.
    As far as rape goes, when I read Walden in college, I remember the outrage concerning the practice of lining up children at dinner with a lollipop dipped in sugar in front of each one. They were not allowed to touch it. If they did, there was an appropriate “correction” applied. People were horrified that the author thought tempting children was necessary and desirable. Yet now, sent a scantily clad 14 year old to high school with 400 males with raging hormones and then expect the males to “not lick the sucker”. Won’t happen. Besides, the current belief is sex is just a biological function, which means rape is just simple assault and should be given no special status.
    If someone was driving 200 mph around deadman’s curve and went through the railing and died, would you blame gravity? If so, where in this “don’t blame the victim” mantra does personal responsibility lie? Girls can parade around naked if they like and guys just have to deal? What about guy’s nature? They want sex. Again, contradictions everywhere. And no one is saying “they deserved it”. It’s the same as the gravity example. Believing you can overcome gravity does not make it so, and if you end up dead, that’s just reality. If you tease a dog, it bites. If you parade around advertising you’re ready for sex, well, don’t be surprised if someone answers the call. Actions have consequences. Sort of like not yelling fire in a crowded theater.

  34. Maybe there is a case to be made for voluntary euthanization for a thoroughly consenting, rational adult. Maybe.

    But abortion is outright murder. The murdered child is completely innocent. It wants to live, like all emergent life. And the mother cannot excuse her murdering, by claiming that it is “her body”.

    No, it is not “her body”. It is the baby’s body. A baby with its own blood type, its own brain waves, its own heartbeat. A baby that, more than anything, wants to live.

    Abortion is murder, and its enablers are murderers in the first degree. Just because Planned Parenthood has convinced some morality-challenged people that abortion is A-OK, that does not excuse it.

    The reason I say that maybe the voluntary euthanization of a thoroughly consenting, rational adult might [or might not] be acceptable, is because it is the next step on a very slippery slope. We have already seen tens of millions of legally sanctioned abortions murders of innocent people. And as we see, young children are next in line to be killed. Anyone who believes that power will not be flagrantly abused need only do a search for “Gosnell”.

    Those who think abortion is excusable are no different from Stalin, who said, “One death is a tragedy. A million deaths is a statistic.” If you would like a new Stalin running things, you will probably get your wish.

    It is not hard to envision the State getting to the point where ‘inconvenient’ people are, as the Soviets said, “liquidated”. If you foolishly believe that ‘it can’t happen here’, then you are naive to the point of delusion. Truth be told, everyone is already on someone’s list. Only the laws based on Thou Shalt Not Kill prevent your own murder. But those laws have been radically weakened, just in my lifetime. And as we see, it is now getting out of hand. History teaches that it will proceed to it’s inevitable extreme.

    As Niccollo Machiavelli wrote, “Men are bad unless compelled to be good.” But who compels the State? Not the aborted children. And not you, either.

  35. Brandon Gates

    June 2, 2014 at 8:32 pm

    Sheri:

    Some could argue that it’s a parents duty to protect their child from consensual fornication if the parents believe that will condemn their child to hell.

    Yes, you’re talking to one such child who was taught that. It was extraordinarly damaging to me. I am still angry that it happened, though not as much as I used to be.

    Whether or not the religious view is correct is not relevant.

    Completely, totally, unequivocably agree. Given what I just wrote above, perhaps you can understand how thorougly committed I am to the princple of separation of religion from a secular state. There’s no better way to promote a free society than to stand on that principle. It goes beyond separating religion from secularism, secularism itself is capable of moral conflics. Different religions have moral conflicts.

    The basic function of an ethical state is to resolve those sorts of conflict when the disagreeing parties cannot do it for themselves — in a way that best preserves both parties’ personal liberties and soverign rights.

    Parents have the right to teach and protect their children, unless the government usurps that right.

    I would march on Washington with you if the US government attempted to do so.

    There is a very slippery slope when that happens–that is from empirical evidence, not just a theory.

    I don’t doubt that slopes have been slippery. As understandable as the fear is (believe me, I have them too) it is not a valid argument in and of itself. When our judicial system is working “properly”, slippery slope arguments are tossed right out the window unless there is reasoanble evidence suggesting that a slide is all but inevitable.

    It does not follow that because things have slipped in the past that they must all slip again in the future. If that’s the main operating assumption in a free society, I begin to have my own slippery slope fears. It goes both ways.

    Yet now, sent a scantily clad 14 year old to high school with 400 males with raging hormones and then expect the males to “not lick the sucker”. Won’t happen.

    Of course not. But I defy you to clothe an attractive woman in anything and have me not be attracted to her. If I can see only her face … sometimes just her eyes … if she has nice hands … it’s arbitrary. It’s not globally definable.

    I prefer women in dark wool business skirt suits and white blouses, medium pumps and a hit of rouge and eye shadow. Lip goss doesn’t hurt, but not required. Few people in today’s society would consider that immodest dress, but I can tell you, the right woman in those clothes lights a fire under my libido like nobody’s business.

    It’s never wrong for a boy/man to say to a girl/woman: “You look beautiful/attractive/gorgeous/sexy tonight.” If the woman/girl says, “Well thanks, but I don’t feel the same way about you,” it’s time for the boy/man to exit the vicinity and find someone else to try to woo with his charms.

    That’s the line, right there. Anything other than leaving at that point is not acceptable behavior.

    Nothing anyone can ever do will prevent that first, appropriate, completely expected and natural contact.

    If someone was driving 200 mph around deadman’s curve and went through the railing and died, would you blame gravity? If so, where in this “don’t blame the victim” mantra does personal responsibility lie?

    We’ve already disussed blind curves at high rates of speed. You already know my answer.

    Girls can parade around naked if they like and guys just have to deal?

    Deal with what? Hello, ’70s child here, Berkeley. Been in a lot of hot tubs and hot springs, nude, in mixed company, totally platonic. Never seen a problem with it. Doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened. But very much doesn’t mean that there MUST be a problem with it.

    What about guy’s nature? They want sex. Again, contradictions everywhere.

    Men and women want sex. There is no contradiction. A woman’s smell can flip that switch, even if I can’t see her. The sound of her voice. There are a bazillion things I love about women that have nothing to do with how she’s dressed but which do turn me on.

    The issue is personal responsibility. Self-control. Not being Evil by violating someone else’s will.

    It is NOT wrong to be attracted to someone who doesn’t reciprocate the feeling and/or who doesn’t want to act on it in an intimate way. It IS wrong to try to force someone else to be intimate who does not wish it.

    And no one is saying “they deserved it”.

    Do you mean no one here in this thread, or no one in general society?

    It’s the same as the gravity example. Believing you can overcome gravity does not make it so, and if you end up dead, that’s just reality. If you tease a dog, it bites. If you parade around advertising you’re ready for sex, well, don’t be surprised if someone answers the call. Actions have consequences.

    No, wrong, completely dead wrong. False.

    It is entirely prudent, before the fact, to teach children how to not invite unwanted attention. And what to do if it happens.

    If that child, or later adult, does not follow that good advice and is harmed by someone else, there are no, zero, nada, grounds for saying to that victim “Well it happened BECAUSE poor decisions have negative consequences.”

    The victim did NOT cause themselves to be victimized. The person who caused the harm, always, 100% of the time, is fully responsible. Period. Full stop.

    Sort of like not yelling fire in a crowded theater.

    Um, wow. That’s inciting panic. The other people in the theater are the potential victims, especially if it causes trampling injuries or deaths. Compleeeeeetly different. The perpetrator of the crime is the one who yelled,

  36. Brandon Gates

    June 2, 2014 at 8:54 pm

    Smokey:

    Maybe there is a case to be made for voluntary euthanization for a thoroughly consenting, rational adult. Maybe.

    I’ll take it.

    But abortion is outright murder.

    I completely understand your argument. I wish I could download into your brain exactly how well I do. But I haven’t the energy to take it up at present. If you care to read it, I had plenty to say about killing unborn children here: http://wmbriggs.com/blog/?p=12294

  37. Brandon: I am always fascinated by children who are angered by how their parents parented. Seems pretty much a waste of time, but some people love to hang onto anger. I guess it fuels them.

    Do you seriously believe the government has not removed parenting rights over and over? You might need to get out more. (I’m serious, not sarcastic.)
    Remember, I noted that I have empirical evidence that as things are usurped by the government, and especially parenting, the slope does slip. How else to do you explain a 14 year old cannot get a tattoo without parental permission but she can get the morning after pill and various types of birth control without parental permission. The government determined promiscuity was desirable and removed a parent’s say in these matters. Now, parents don’t decide their child’s gender, the child does. Etc. It started with outlawing spanking and went on from there. I have known people who’s kids were threatened to be taken away because they didn’t fold laundry.

    I don’t remember discussing curves at high rates of speed.

    Disagree 100% that doing something that will probably lead to a bad outcome does not put any responsibility on the person who did it. If you get into a car with a drunk driver and end up dead, it’s not even partly your fault? If you wear a Rolex through a gang area and you mugged, not your fault? You marry someone who beat you and think it will all get better. Not your fault? In all honesty, I am sure the women’s movement loves you. Sadly, the women’s movement has only made life miserable for women and made more and more victims by lying to them about cause and effect. I have given this 50 years of thought and have not yet found any convincing argument as to why provoking someone does not merit blame.

  38. Brandon Gates

    June 2, 2014 at 10:09 pm

    Sheri:

    I am always fascinated by children who are angered by how their parents parented. Seems pretty much a waste of time, but some people love to hang onto anger. I guess it fuels them.

    Anger is not always a voluntary response. It is fascinating though.

    Getting rid of anger, truly processing it, dealing with it, and letting it go, is never a waste of time.

    Do you seriously believe the government has not removed parenting rights over and over? You might need to get out more. (I’m serious, not sarcastic.)

    I know you’re serious. I also know I never said anything of the sort. I am speaking in general principles here. What the proper role of government in a society based on the concepts of individual freedoms and liberty is.

    You can’t attack my statements of principle by appealing to unspecified actual events at me and expect to get very far. If you do provide an example, I’ll be happy to tell you what I think of it based on my principles. But even then, it doesn’t invalidate what I stand for. I am not my goverment, its laws, or the arguments of general society, any political party, or any other individuals on this planet. I’m me. I have a brain that is my own. I use it to speak for myself.

    Remember, I noted that I have empirical evidence that as things are usurped by the government, and especially parenting, the slope does slip. How else to do you explain a 14 year old cannot get a tattoo without parental permission but she can get the morning after pill and various types of birth control without parental permission.

    Because courts of law, legislatures, popular votes, don’t behave consistently. Different people involved, over different periods of time, with different ideological balances of power.

    But what does any of that have to do with any of my arguments?

    If there’s any slippery slope here, it is the universal tendency of humankind to reject otherness and obtain power for their own self-comfort. If you sequester or ship off one unpopular minority where they won’t be a bother to the majority, it’s all but inevitable that another minority will form and come into conflict with the larger group.

    Like I said, your fears are understandable. I share them too.

    The government determined promiscuity was desirable and removed a parent’s say in these matters. Now, parents don’t decide their child’s gender, the child does. Etc. It started with outlawing spanking and went on from there. I have known people who’s kids were threatened to be taken away because they didn’t fold laundry.

    I don’t remember discussing curves at high rates of speed.

    Disagree 100% that doing something that will probably lead to a bad outcome does not put any responsibility on the person who did it.

    I didn’t state the general case as you have here.

    General principles always have exceptions. That’s why codes of law are as long as they are. It’s a shame that my personal defitions of Good and Evil don’t suffice for the sum total of laws on the books.

    If you get into a car with a drunk driver and end up dead, it’s not even partly your fault?

    Per above, please don’t extend what I say on a specific issue to every issue you can think of. I know, I said yesterday that you could test my moral consistency. But yelling fire and a theater or getting into a car with a drunk, or a woman being raped because she was “asking for it” by what she was wearing is so far removed from euthanasia, I’m beginning to wonder where this is all going.

    Two things. I myself feel it is my duty to prevent drunks from getting into a car and driving. I’ll get them a cab. Walk over to Denny’s and eat greasy food and drink a pot of coffee for a few hours. So, if I fail to stop a drunk from driving when I could have, and they get into a wreck and kill someone and/or themselves, I would hold myself partially responsible for having not acted.

    On the other hand, that person chose to drink. They chose to get behind the wheel. What they do beyond that point is their responsiblity first and foremost. Yes, me as a passenger has some responsibility there.

    But compared to a rape victim? No. Just no. Not. Absolutely, positively no.

    The drunk did not wish to kill someone … in most cases … if the drunk did wish to kill someone, the drunkenness is not the problem, it’s the will.

    The rapist wanted to rape. He willed it. You cannot, ever, never, blame a victim of a wilful act of violence or other harm on the victim themselves.

    If you wear a Rolex through a gang area and you mugged, not your fault?

    No.

    First of all, if you’re not in a gang so you don’t know where the gang areas are. Secondly, gangs don’t stay in any “area”, they roam. Thirdly, you don’t have to look rich to get mugged. Fourthly, if you extend this slippery slope to its conclusion, the only rational thing for you to do is barricade yourself in the house and never go anywhere.

    I’ve never lived anywhere that didn’t have “scary” people living in it. I know how to handle myself, and it doesn’t involve looking tough and intimidating. I’ve never been mugged, nobody’s tried the knock-out game on me and I don’t get messed with.

    Why? Because I don’t look afraid. If someone sketchy-looking makes eye contact, I return it with a polite greeting. If they don’t, I don’t stare them down, I just look slightly away from their posistion, but keep my head up, don’t alter pace and don’t tense up.

    I don’t cross the street; that’s the worst possible move ever.

    True, I don’t go into West Oakland at 3 am, I do understand the concept of prudence. But if I did do that, on foot, based on past experience I’d be ok. If someone did mug me, it would still be their fault. 100% their crime. This is fortunately one area where I agree that our legal system has gotten it right.

    You marry someone who beat you and think it will all get better. Not your fault?

    No. My default stance is that the person doing the beating is the only one responsible unless there are other circumstances which you have not specified.

    Spousal abuse is not date rape, and it’s not scantily-clad girl at the bar rape. Courtship and marriage is far more complex.

    In all honesty, I am sure the women’s movement loves you.

    I don’t know about that. I’ve pissed of some radical feminists in my time. I’m not arguing for or on behalf of them. Please stop confusing me with other people, and stop trying to hang their arguments on me, especially if those arguments are crap.

    Sadly, the women’s movement has only made life miserable for women and made more and more victims by lying to them about cause and effect. I have given this 50 years of thought and have not yet found any convincing argument as to why provoking someone does not merit blame.

    Being beautful and sexy is not a provocation. It’s being a woman.

    Me wandering into a bar full of drunks in Cody, WY and calling everyone a bunch of dumb redneck sheep-lovers probably would earn me a deservedly good-old-fashioned trip to the woodshed.

  39. Brandon Gates

    June 2, 2014 at 10:25 pm

    Sheri:

    Whoops, missed these last response.

    The government determined promiscuity was desirable and removed a parent’s say in these matters.

    [sigh] Where and when? The sigh is because promiscuity is such a loaded term. Then there’s the presumption that the gummint did it because promiscuity is somehow desireable.

    I will tell you, promiscuity is not desireable. Ten million reasons why. But it’s not the government’s call to define it.

    There is call for the government to protect children from abusive behavior from their parents. Now how that all comes together in whatever case you’re specifically thinking of I cannot evaluate because I don’t have enough specifics.

    Now, parents don’t decide their child’s gender, the child does.

    Hmm, well there’s biological sex and gender identification. One determines who carries the child and who provides the fertilizer.

    The other determines butkus. An individual or couple should not be subject to the tyrrany of the majority definitions of such things.

    In the case of parent/child relationships, yes, that’s a tough one. I side with the child. Children are not chattel. They are future adults. A parent’s job is to train them to be adults, not tell them whether they can play with dolls or trucks.

    Etc. It started with outlawing spanking and went on from there.

    Where do you draw the line? I’ve never heard laws about spanking being outlawed anywhere. I wouldn’t support it. But where do you draw the line?

    I have known people who’s kids were threatened to be taken away because they didn’t fold laundry.

    Ok, I say with all the warmth of my heart that now you’re just being silly. Come on, lighten up with me here and have a laugh. Just one smile. 🙂

    I don’t remember discussing curves at high rates of speed.

    The last thread on climate change.

  40. Brandon: My comment was in response to this “Parents have the right to teach and protect their children, unless the government usurps that right.
    I would march on Washington with you if the US government attempted to do so.”
    That does not sound to me like we are in the hypothetical realm which was the point of the comment.
    Nice tap dance around “I’m not going to answer if wearing a Rolex in gang territory is asking to be mugged.” Always avoid the answer and move onto the most extreme examples. Whatever. This is quickly losing it’s interest to me as I have played this game with people who refuse to follow through their morals and rules if there’s a chance they are wrong. My sibling went so far as to tell me there would be no pedophiles if we did not have rules about sex (response to my question of: If there are no rules, then you’re okay with pedophiles?) This is nothing but a waste of time. If you won’t answer my questions, I have no reason to ask.
    Interesting–you won’t “blame the victim” and then turn around and say you have never been mugged because you don’t look like a victim. Really?
    I am not confusing you with a feminist. I clearly state the women’s movement would love you. You have indicated that you are not responsible for other’s actions so why go defensive?
    I did not say “dressed beautifully and sexily”. I said dressed provocatively with an “I ready for sex” stance. Surely you know the difference. And again, with the bar/Cody example, you are blaming yourself for a beating. Yet you won’t blame women for dressing like hookers and getting into trouble. You won’t blame a women who goes out with a guy she does not know, gets fall-down drunk and bad things happen because it’s not her fault. You’re totally inconsistent in all of this.
    Again, tap dance around the question of promiscuity. This is fast becoming pointless. Your answer to the question of gender identity is interesting. You would take away parenting rights over gender identification and what else? What if the parent teaches them blacks are “n******”? As long as the child never uses the term out loud, is it okay to teach your child blacks are subhuman? Then you’re not breaking any law and it’s just parenting. What if you child wants to go synagogue and you’re catholic? You probably were in the hypothetical realm with this one too, because imagination is so much easier than reality.
    I was NOT being silly with the laundry example (I knew the family). It is very REAL and the fact that you think I made it up says much. I think it’s time for me to go. You don’t believe my examples, you won’t answer questions asked so the discussion is pretty much over.
    One last statement: The idea that “blaming the victim” is wrong is actually a way to take away power from people, as in further victimize them. Women, according to the theory, are completely helpless and at the mercy of men. They are 100% powerless creatures. That’s just cruel. Flat out. I will never accept making a person a permanent victim and powerless over their lives. Cruel, cruel, cruel.

  41. Brandon Gates

    June 3, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    Sheri: so I’m in an awkward position now. I’m being told that I’m too wordy and unfocused. That I’m dancing around questions without answering. That talking to me is tedious and that you don’t want to do it. Yet what you have written contains arguments which do not represent my views. Nor do they have anything to do with the topic of this thread. I agreed to the diversion because you said you wanted to test me for moral consistency, but we have both ended up far afield.

    I don’t know what else to do except say that I feel like I am being held to a double standard, and that if there’s any quality of bad-faith debate going on here that we both share some responsibility for it.

    This is the last I’ll say to you unless you reconsider and reach back out to me. I hope you will. Regards.

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