Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Human life and its worth

Probably talked about it before, too, but here goes:

I have never been able to understand the common Finnish reasoning about the value of life of a violent criminal. It has been explained to me many times, but I still don't. Maybe should try again.

I understand very well the "criminals are also people" idea, in the sense of providing humane conditions in prisons, etc. What I don't get is the idea that a criminal's life while in the process of committing a violent crime should be so valuable that normal people should risk their life or health or flee their home for the sake of it.

No, I am not asking for an explanation here, I think the size of the comments is not enough. If you know me IRL we can discuss it IRL.

Maybe it's just because it's not valuable to me. I mean, I usually have no particular desire to kill criminals and have no desire to hit them on the head with an axe when a kick in the balls is enough, but if there is really a question of killing them vs. a serious risk of an injury to me - hell, the attacker's life is infinitely less valuable than the convenience of not having to deal with pain and inconvenience of, say, a broken arm.

Apparently most of the voters feel otherwise. Considering that most voters are not violent criminals, I would like to know what makes them feel otherwise. I suspect this is just some deep cultural difference between them and me, but it would be nice to understand. I also wonder whether the experience of having been attacked affects people's opinions, and how. (I have my cynical suspicions, but it would be nice to see statistics.)

Another thing: how is the almost-universal Finnish belief that one should flee rather than defend one's own home because the life of the criminal is more valuable than your property reconciled with the fact that citizens are not only allowed but required to defend the country if it is attacked? Apparently the land of Finland is indeed more valuable than the lives of an army of attacking Russians (oops, I mean unnamed neighboring superpower, of course). Why?

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