Fred Phelps is 'near death'. How do you feel about that?

Anti-LGBT hate monger and Westboro Baptist Church pastor Fred Phelps is in the hospital. His son describes him as "near death".

How do you feel about that?



Tags: Baptist, Church, Fred, Phelps, Westboro

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It is small because the satisfaction you feel gives you (and others in general) a false sense of an accomplishment of positive outcome. The death of these kinds of people really doesn't change much.

The death of hate-mongers and terrorists makes me feel glad. Period.

It's a separate issue as to what "sense" that satisfaction gives me and why, depending on the specifics of each case. Kindly stop telling me what I "sense" and start asking me.

Likewise, whether or not the death accomplishes anything positive is a separate issue. That is, aside from the already intrinsically positive result that in some cases I feel good about it.

The death of these kinds of people really doesn't change much.

I've provided numerous examples which show how the death of hate-mongers and terrorists does at times accomplish positive change: ending cults and reducing the severity and frequency of terrorist attacks. This is demonstrably true.

But no. Gosh, sorry Gallup. It's not REALLY that way so it doesn't change much!

That's not how it works, Belle. You do not get to dismiss specific, factual demonstrations of real change by gainsaying.

That's why I used the ant analogy - there's always more people like them to continue the hate mongering and terrorist activity.

Analogies don't impress me. If your argument isn't based on facts you haven't made one.   

You are essentially "glad" for something that doesn't do anybody any good.

You mean, it does no good to anyone except the soldiers and civilians who are still alive because the terrorists who otherwise would have killed them are dead. And no good except for the cult leaders and cults which no longer exist to rape kids, spew hatred, and spread disinformation. And no good except for the good feeling that instills in me (and apparently in others who have responded in a celebratory fashion in this thread).

Don't tell me it doesn't make any difference when bad people like this die, Belle. It absolutely does make a difference, most especially to the people they otherwise would continue to blow up, shoot, behead, rape, brainwash and oppress.

You feed let's say 300 people. Great. They are happy and you are happy, everyone's happy. It scratches a very small surface to combat world hunger. In the grand scheme of things it's a kind gesture, but there are still people starving all over the world.

That smacks of defeatism I find a little distasteful. If all you can do is feed 300, feed them. If you can feed millions, feed them. But don't let 300 starve or feel no satisfaction at feeding 300, just because you can't feed millions. It still matters, at least to me, and certainly to the 300 who are fed.

"It's better to light a candle than curse the darkness." -Peter Benenson, the English lawyer and founder of Amnesty International.

That's just an illustration to drive home the point that the death of one individual does not dismantle the problem the way the media would like you to think it does.

To state it (again) for the record: I don't think that killing one terrorist stops all terror attacks. I don't think the death of one cult member stops all cults. I don't think that feeding a few feeds everyone. I keep saying this. But you persist in refuting stances that I have not taken. I have not seen indications that "the media" suggests these kinds of incongruous outcomes are true.

In some cases [the death of a hate-monger or terrorist] can (and has) add fuel to the fire and make positive changes more cumbersome and create more barriers to work through, and/or sever a communication dialog that is needed for lasting progress.

Maybe sometimes this is true but it's irrelevant. I don't feel glad about those cases. That sometimes a problem gets worse does not stop me from feeling satisfaction when it gets better.

I bring it up because I've known criminals that make Fred Phelps look like a an angel (for lack of a better term) but if they died tomorrow you wouldn't be glad because you don't even know they exist.

As I said earlier, kindly stop telling me how I feel (or would feel) and why. You've taken a wrong turn here.

Maybe I would feel glad when a criminal dies. Or maybe not.

I would feel disappointed if a criminal like Steven Hayes-- who complains prison is "a psychological torture chamber"-- died tomorrow in another suicide attempt. I will feel glad if he dies in prison after another 50 years, as a very old, broken man. A quick exit from life is more mercy than he deserves so I'd find the former outcome rather unsatisfying.

But say for instance a criminal like Whitey Bulger, who evaded justice until he was 81 years old, were killed in a gun battle while resisting arrest. I might have felt glad about that, since a short prison sentence followed by death from old age seems rather unsatisfying.

As for the millions of others whom I don't know about individually? You can't hold that against me. I'm only human.

Gallup: Because it's not a stretch or imaginary. Cults do sometimes die out with their leaders. (See Jim Jones, David Koresh, Marshall Applewhite, Joseph Kibweteere, etc.) Terrorist attacks can be reduced in frequency and severity by killing the terrorists. ("We find that drone strikes are associated with decreases in the incidence and lethality of terrorist attacks, as well as decreases in particularly intimidating and deadly terrorist tactics, including suicide and improvised explosive devices (IED) attacks.")
Belle: ........For how long and by whose estimation of "die out" or "reduce"?

In the cases of the cults I've posted, it's common knowledge that these rather famous cult leaders are dead and that their cults ended with them (mostly in gruesome fashion). In the case of the study I posted about the effectiveness of killing terrorists, it's a RAND Corporation analyst consulting for the United States armed forces.

Belle: Obviously not enough to make a dent to matter.

You do not get to gainsay recent history and a statistical analysis. The end of a cult "matters" insofar as I've claimed that it does: it ends the harm that cult does. The end of a terrorist matters in exactly the way I said it does: it stops the terrorist from killing people.

Belle: Cult leaders are like ants. There are always...more...ants. [...] The atrocities they have created will not be stopped just because they are dead any more than terrorist attacks will cease just because Osama Bin Laden is dead.
Gallup: Not true. Cults do sometimes die out with their leaders. And the cessation of terrorist attacks is an unrealistic measure of progress. A reduction in frequency and severity will do.
Belle: By what stretch of the imagination can you say that [cults sometimes die out with their leaders]? Especially regarding Fred Phelps. He already has his little successor (obviously) so when he dies nothing will change. [Osama bin Laden being dead] hasn't stopped the threat of terrorism. It just got rid of one face. You cannot honestly tell me that the threats are gone now just because he's gone.
Gallup: I didn't say Westboro Baptist Church will die with Fred Phelps. [...] I told you that "a reduction in frequency and severity" of terrorist attacks is a reasonable, positive outcome of killing terrorists, not that killing Bin Laden means "the threats are gone". You're switching back and forth between non-specific generalizations about "cult leaders" to one specific leader of a Baptist Church cult: Fred Phelps. My comments above are a response to the former.
Belle: So? And? Does [switching back and forth between specifics and generalizations] complicate things too much for our discussion or is that some kind of argument flaw I'm unaware of?

It's not complicated, it's simple. Re-read our exchange above.

I said cults sometimes die with their leaders (in general). You misrepresent that as me saying Phelps' cult (specifically) will die out.

I said a reduction in frequency and severity of terrorist attacks is reasonable progress (in general). You misrepresent that as me telling you the terrorist threats are "gone" because Bin Laden (specifically) is gone.

The "flaw in your argument" is that it's a strawman fallacy. You misrepresented my points to make them easier to attack.

Gallup: This is the second time you've falsely attributed to me that "terrorist attacks will cease just because Osama Bin Laden is dead". You've overstuffed this strawman, Belle. Time to leave it and move on.
Belle: You missed my point completely.

I really didn't. The point is that you have no legitimate response to what I actually say about Phelps, cults, Bin Laden and terrorism, so you make up some crap and respond to that instead.

I was merely trying to point out the absurdity in thinking that if one man dies it serves some kind of justice...

You have pointed out no such absurdity. You only claim it's absurd. Illustrating the point would require addressing what I actually say (which is reasonable), not the strawmanning or gainsaying (which is unreasonable and intellectually dishonest).

What I actually say is sometimes a death does serve justice and sometimes not. I keep saying it. ("I said the death of Phelps makes me glad. I didn't suggest that it's justice." [...] "Bin Laden, I would call that justice, maybe...")

That's not even incongruous, let alone absurd. the point where people who are not directly affected victims should applaud their passing (which is what we're discussing here).

Excuse me? It's "absurd" to find satisfaction in the passing of terrorists, criminals and hate-mongers unless you're one of their victims? That's rather self-centered. Part of the reason I feel satisfied is that I care about the victims (past, present and future) not just about myself.

Belle: I have tried to kill someone before, out of self defense.
Gallup: Then when you wrote "I would never wish death upon someone" you really were being dishonest. You cannot try to kill someone and not want them to die.
Belle: That's where you're completely wrong.

You cannot "try to walk" without wanting to walk. You cannot "try to sing" without wanting to sing. You cannot "try to kill" without wanting to kill. How can you not want to do something you're actually attempting to do? Explain how that's "completely wrong".

And on the subject of completely wrong...

The trigger of a primal response to survive does not involve a single emotion. It is an automatic reaction that cannot be helped.

That's not true. A primal response to survive involves emotions: anxiety and aggression.

"Wishing death" upon someone is a pre-meditated decision based on "feelings."

That's not true. Wanting (or wishing) to kill someone does not have to be premeditated or based on feelings. If your would-be killer surprises you, you can shoot for his heart or dig your thumbs into his eyes fully meaning to kill him, all done in a flash and without premeditating. And serial killers do their killing because they have no "feelings" toward their victims, if any at all.

Had I succeeded, even in self defense, I would have carried that burden for the rest of my life.

Maybe so. But you'd be alive.

I don't say you wanted it to happen or that you have to feel good about it. But don't tell me trying to kill someone doesn't mean you want them to die. In the moment, you do want that and it's for the most important reason: so you can stay alive. I don't see any shame in that.

You have every right to your life. You have every right to defend yourself with deadly force if someone is bent on seriously harming or killing you.

Gallup: Where did I glorify deadly force or killing in self-defense? The only place I've portrayed killing at all is with a link to combat footage taken in Afghanistan. It's real footage, not "Hollywood", and it's ugly and brutal, not glamorous.
Belle: Stop taking everything I say so personally. I was not accusing YOU of claiming anything...

You specifically said, of me, that life and death situations are "not the hollywood romanticized glorified power you make it out to be..."

You weren't attributing to me (as opposed to someone else) that I make life and death struggles out to be "hollywood romanticized glorified power"?

Don't tell me not take it personally because that's exactly what "personally" means. You attributed that stance to me, albeit falsely.

    ...but merely stating that the desire to kill and/or want someone to die in reality is not ever a "good" thing. I was only using hollywood glamor as an example of why some people might think it is.

I've demonstrated several times how people dying (or not) is sometimes a "good" thing. I can't speak for "some people". But for myself, I don't think this way because of "Hollywood glamor". I think so for reasons I've already explained and you keep disregarding.

Gallup: I said the death of Phelps makes me glad. I didn't suggest that it's justice.
Belle: Hmm that's funny because that's exactly what I thought you meant.

Show me any words I have written to the effect that Phelps' death is "justice". Find them. Quote it. Show me. It did not happen.

I've said so of Bin Laden, but of Fred Phelps? I said absolutely nothing of the kind. I don't see how you can credibly claim to think that's what I meant when I say that's not what I meant.

If it's not some level of justice in your mind [that Phelps will soon be dead] then why are you "glad?" I missed that I guess.

You did miss it. With the death of Phelps, there is one less hate-monger in the world. Phelps himself cannot continue to do what he does. That makes me glad.

That's it. That's all it is. Anything beyond that regarding my thoughts and feelings on Fred Phelps is your own invention.

For the harm he did there will be no justice. Since I don't believe there is an afterlife (or a hell) to settle the score, I must be satisfied with his trip to oblivion. I've already said as much, which I'll quote here:

"I wish the world were a better place. I think it would've been better if people like Fred Phelps, Shirley Phelps-Roper, Warren Jeffs, Pat Robertson and Ken Ham had never existed. For people who dedicate their lives to spreading hatred and teaching ignorance as a virtue, the next best thing is for them to stop existing."

"...I'm glad Fred Phelps is (nearly) dead and will be glad when Warren Jeffs is dead (after he spends a very long time in prison). These men dedicated their lives to (ab)using freedoms of religion and expression to systematically hurt and oppress others. Killing someone for abhorrent activism or repulsive religious beliefs would be unethical and (at least to me) is unthinkable. But I don't see any reason not to feel glad when people like these are dead and gone. If there was a hell I'd be only too pleased to hold the door for them. But there isn't, so this little post with the Kool and the Gang dance party will have to do. I think they got off easy."

Belle: Call my arguments unsophisticated if you like, but I can assure you I've thought about murder, and death far more than you wish to fathom.
Gallup: Thinking is not the same as articulating thoughts. You may have spent years thinking about [murder and death], but the four lines you had expressed at the time I asked you to clarify were a scratch on the surface, not a dive to the intellectual fathoms.
Belle: We're just jumping off the plank, so I can swim, you can paddle.

I don't want to paddle you, Belle. I'm hoping a good talking-to is enough.

asked to hear more about what you think and why because your joke about the possible death of religiously-motivated child rapist Warren Jeffs was based on satisfaction. Then, on the heels of your apparent satisfaction, came the backpedalling: "I should be ashamed of myself."

Maybe you think you should be ashamed, but I don't think you really were, or you wouldn't have said you ought to be. The satisfaction struck me as your genuine reaction (and still does).

As for my thoughts, I've made them clear enough. They don't resemble your twisted words and misrepresentations of them. What I think is true and reasonable, not false and absurd.

As for how I feel? Feelings are neither right nor wrong, any more than they are small. I don't feel the least bit ashamed of mine and I find it unfortunate and misguided that you wished you were ashamed of yours.


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