Chronology Current Month Current Thread Current Date
[Year List] [Month List (current year)] [Date Index] [Thread Index] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Prev] [Date Next]

Re: [Phys-l] OT: Reflecting on Ethics (was A geek's ... "Avatar")

Bob raises several interesting issues.

I expect the example that he raises in this post that is easy for most folks on this list to relate to, is
the idea of leaving a car on the street, or on one's drive.

There are local people here who will leave a diesel truck running outside a restaurant on a chill day.
This represents, I suppose, one end of the precautionary attitudes to property that people adopt.
(In the country, tractors may be left running unattended for long periods, so it is a habit, I suppose.)

On the one or two occasions when I have stopped a car for a moment to drop off a consignment, and left its engine running, I have been acutely aware that the police would offer me no sympathy at all if it were driven away.: I left it visibly mobile.

The next step is to lock a car when away from it. Locks are certainly becoming harder to pick.

A further step in this direction is illustrated by my wife's car: if the wind blows too gusty,
it will audibly warn of being molested. Though she tolerates this behavior in her own car, when the car
owned by the lawyer who lives across the street, does just the same thing - she is much less tolerant.

There are districts apparently, where to leave a car parked is to issue an invitation to have it jacked up, for wheel removal. It would seem that locking a car in a garage would be the extra layer of protection that one might need in this situation.
In each of these situations, it is my responsibility to provide the level of security which will maximize my comfort level, no doubt.

The ethical issue to which I allude, perhaps not very clearly, is that if I lay out my prize possessions,
on a table within my property line, adjacent to a busy street, and pay no attention to keeping them secure, then I certainly should not be surprised, nor feel injured, if some young person finds them irresistible. In colluding to make a stranger's theft easier or less risky, then certainly the thief is at fault: but I share blame in aiding the commission of this theft. This is not a difficult or unusual ethical position. Perhaps the Rice philosopher, who sometimes joins these discussions could offer
some correction if I err?

I suppose I also ought to mention that someone who uses deadly force to try to detain a thief, risks
the most severe treatment that the system of law allows: long imprisonment, or capital execution.
Bob undoubtedly knows this.


Brian W

LaMontagne, Bob wrote:
I really cannot connect the word "ethically" with anything you've said. In fact, I'm not sure I even understand what you said.

I am not a person driven my morality based ethics, but I am a proponent of property rights and contracts (explicit or implied) - these rights are the bedrock for all the wonderful benefits we have living in a western society.

I am tired of constantly having to protect myself from people stealing from me and my neighbors and my employer just because they need drug money or are too damned lazy to be productive themselves. I have had four radios stolen from my car. My daughter's main occupation is as a figure skating coach. She has had her skates stolen twice - costing me over a thousand to replace them each time. I have reported all of this to the police and they just take the report and say there's nothing that can be done. The last time I heard a couple of young men trying to get into my car I got some satisfaction by getting a round off at them from the back door - fortunately I missed, because I would have ended up in more trouble than they would have - but I was so angry I couldn't help myself. Just two days ago I took my brother-in-law to see his father in hospital. When we returned to his house his car had been broken into and band equipment he had put in his trunk for a job that evening had been stolen. This was in a quiet single-family neighborhood on Cape Cod.

Unlike Brian, I don't see parking my car in my own driveway as an "attractive nuisance". I refuse to take any responsibility for people who steal from me and can find no justification for them doing so (only excuses). Small thefts - big thefts - they all stem from the same disregard or disdain of property rights.

Bob at PC