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What should we as a society do?

Discussion in 'Political Discussion' started by Patters, Dec 8, 2012.

  1. Patters

    Patters Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Fifteen years ago, Joe Doe was convicted of raping of woman. He never admitted to the crime even though to do so would have reduced his sentence by 5 years. He insists that he was innocent.

    Now, 40 years old, he is a free man. He's a registered sex offender and has criminal record a mile long, though the other charges relate to lesser crimes (causing a disturbance or selling drugs). Joe is hardened and angry and not very bright. He is unattractive with bad teeth, bad skin, and tattoos up his neck and down his arms. Yet, for the sake of his mom, who he loves, he wants to do "the right thing." Every day he looks for work, and once in awhile picks up a few bucks, but certainly not enough to live on. No one wants to hire him.

    Now, after a year out of prison, he is on food stamps and receives about $300/month cash from the State while pursuing his Social Security disability claim, which is a long shot. If he can't find work and can't make ends meet, he sees his choices as living in shelters or going back to a life of crime, which will put him back in prison. He says of prison, "It wasn't that bad. It was a lot of easier, I got along good with the guys, and got fed."

    Joe is not a real client, but he's based on real clients, people released from years of prison who are willing to give the straight and narrow a chance, if only it gave them a chance. Joe is not a nice man and does not deserve our love and generosity, but he is a social problem. If we do nothing, he may harm your family member and yet you will still contribute to his room and board at the state penitentiary. So, what do you propose?
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2012
  2. Harry Boy

    Harry Boy Look Up, It's Amazing PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Shoot Him-----------
  3. PatsFanInVa

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    I'm in the middle of Gladwell's The Tipping Point, and it's got me thinking of the small changes that can have big effects, which can go viral. One thing that goes through my mind is that I notice "interview suit" drives from time to time. In your "client's" case, the "interview suit" might just be a button-down shirt and a cheap pair of slacks (I'm assuming, and forgive me if I'm wrong, that the interviews wouldn't be for office-type jobs where you'd make a better impression with the full-on suit.) Right now is the last time for this client to be looking, with so many non-felons looking. But were his crimes all non-violent, the interview skills/basics programs might be something that would do wonders for his prospects.

    But for Joe there are so many employers' risks: In his particular case, Joe Doe is a convicted rapist. A rap sheet full of petty crimes would be a simpler case. As an employer, would you hire him? Even if, as a businessman, I did hire him, I'd feel a responsible (in a small business) to keep an eye on him at all times. In a large business I'd tell his supervisor to watch him like a hawk -- anything he did, it would become your problem. But I wouldn't, by and large. I'd say "don't hire this guy." He goes to 7-11 to get coffee, and I'm going to think something bad has happened. How can I attend to the business with Joe around?

    This is really just re-stating the problem I suppose. I don't have a canned liberal response that will save Joe. I can imagine various ways to bridge the gap. For instance, if you had a voluntary work program where inmates make some amount below minimum wage per hour, Joe could go and work alongside them. All would be well supervised, with the free guys making minimum wage. Or if inmates make a frozen minimum wage, free guys could be eligible to move up if they're more productive or if they take on management responsibilities effectively.

    I could also see programs for violent offenders, where they're trained to work from home. Yes, Joe or Mother of Joe might have to spring for $300 worth of computer, not to mention the internet connection. But if there is low-level work Joe could do, like research for an internet vitamin company... OKAY JUST KIDDING... if there is low-level work to be done, it might be another possibility.

    Last thought - infrastructure conservation corps. We have a buttload of work that needs doing, and I'd rather Joe be filling potholes if we're sending him a check anyway, right?

    Like I said, I'm out of answers. I think realistically, Joe is going back to prison in most cases. Indeed, that's very much what we observe. If more hopeful types can imagine more hopeful outcomes, call it a failure of imagination on my part.

    PFnV
  4. PatsWSB47

    PatsWSB47 Rookie

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    What is his disability?
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2012
  5. Mrs.PatsFanInVa

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    Don't know the answer, Patters. And I've seen too many Joes.

    I had a favorite "frequent flyer" years ago....young (26) ex-gang banger, a paraplegic with an ostomy for urine and one for stool. He was homeless and unable to get into a shelter because, at the time, neither of the two area shelters were equipped for his chair. We couldn't get him any kind of disability because in order to get a check you need an address and in order to get an address you need to be getting regular checks.

    He really wanted to turn it around - his goal in life was to speak at high schools about the dangers of joining a gang. He could draw like an angel and, altho his formal education was squat, he was a reasonably intelligent guy.

    But he stank - and he was constantly getting infected because he couldn't take care of his catheters and his stomas while living in an abandoned basement or where ever he managed to sleep at night. He was an easy target for just about anyone due to his inability to walk or run away. He had massive upper body strength but what good does that do?

    There wasn't any place we could find for him - no matter how hard we tried. We'd clean him up, try to get him admitted for a day or two and try to get social service to find him a place to stay so he could at least get started - but they never did. There just wasn't any place for a paraplegic, ex-con, ex-gang-banger to go.

    So he did what he had to do - which was wheel himself from place to place and try to stay out of trouble - until he finally got the mother of all infections and died alone and probably afraid in an abandoned warehouse.

    We, as society, failed. He may have failed first, but we failed last and that's the baddest fail there is.
  6. PatsFanInVa

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    And you have to ask yourself, what if there were an organized effort to help that frequent flier tell kids about his experience? Of course, we have no idea how effective it would be, and we have no idea how much work it would be to keep him clean enough to do the job.

    Were the gap bridged, you have to imagine the importance of taking care of his own physical needs would increase. That happens with a sense of purpose.

    But it probably would never cost out for those of us that aren't him.
  7. wistahpatsfan

    wistahpatsfan Rookie

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    We should give him a decent job, some apartment somewhere, and a girlfriend. If he screws up one of them, he dies.
  8. PatsFanInVa

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    You're way more liberal than me Wistah LOL
  9. Real World

    Real World Rookie

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    He should move to Buffalo, join the teachers union, earn a nice salary, and get all the plastic surgery he needs to remove those tats, and fix those teeth.

    Joe Doe is who people should point at when trying to explain to kids why your choices in life are important.
  10. Harry Boy

    Harry Boy Look Up, It's Amazing PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Instead of spending millions of dollars on wars and drones that kill Beautiful Wonderful Obama and his people should be concentrating on Americans like this guy, maybe Sean Penn could come home and help people like this in his own country, I'm sure Oprah, The Kennedy's, Pelosi, Whoopi, and all of the other Filthy Rich Liberal Hand Wringers would be more than happy to donate to the caring of "these people"
    God Willing
  11. RI Patriots fan

    RI Patriots fan Rookie

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    We should do nothing as a society but as individuals we should donate our time and money to Joe's victims.
  12. PatriotsReign

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    Who is "We"? You mean a gov't job?

    Absolutely no way in hell.

    I would never, ever support any bid to guarantee EVERYONE a job. But you want to give this guy one. What about the "normal" guy down the street with 2 kids who's been out of work for months? He deserves a job way before "Joe" does...or anyone like him.

    Why don't you hire him?
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2012
  13. Mrs.PatsFanInVa

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    My, my, my....whatever happened to "no one is any better than anyone else?" and "We're all the same, we're all just another bozo on the bus?"
  14. IcyPatriot

    IcyPatriot ---- JAG ----- PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #87 Jersey

    You give him the SSI disability ... IMO he is society disabled and that is obvious. Many people won't like that option but if you want more peace and less crime then it's the price we all have to pay.

    Years ago many of these people were institutionalized but we are a much more civilized society now. People who are born with low intelligence have a disability IMO it is not much different than a bad back or an amputated arm. It inhibits employment and you don't just throw these people out in the streets.

    That more normal and capable people are receiving government benefits is where the crime is ... they are stealing the $$$ that should be going to the Joe's out there who need it.
  15. Patters

    Patters Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    As I expected, conservatives really don't have answers to these kinds of problems. They sort of live in lala land where one does not present solutions, but simply complains about those who present solutions. I think Americans are starting to realize that conservatives truly lack solutions to social problems. The fact remains that if we don't do something for Joe, he's going to become a problem -- in the worst case harming someone and in the best case living off our tax dollars as he goes through the legal system on his way to prison.
  16. IcyPatriot

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    #87 Jersey

    On thing I neglected to add is we need to have a greater effort in education in this country. Education and after school programs are the solution to many problems affecting this country today. You can either spend more on education or more on social welfare later ... the education spending is more fruitful for society. Even people like Joe can be identified earlier and trained in a trade rather than not being trained for anything.
  17. Mrs.PatsFanInVa

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    I think Icy's right on the money with this.

    I'd far rather see my tax dollars going towards identifying high-risk children and teenagers and developing programs which work towards preventing drug addiction, early pregnancy, alcoholism, gang affiliations and a high drop out rate than trying to clean up after the damage has been done.
  18. PatsWSB47

    PatsWSB47 Rookie

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    You haven't weighed in on a solution yet, what's yours?

    I agree with the all serious remedies in this thread so far. I'm in the "teach a man to fish crowd"...don't know if that's conservative or liberal. I asked earlier what his hypothetical disability was so I could answer better. I was already thinking about how he could hang around the prison system working as a civilian when Mr.P weighed in on it. I also like Icy and Mrs.P's preventative education angle. I also have to give RI Patriots fan props for remembering the victims....the ones who are forgotten way too often in these discussions.
  19. PatsFanInVa

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    Yeah ditto, RI. We should have some kind of follow-up w/victims, especially when the victim is the breadwinner and his dependents are thrown into poverty. But also as what a compassionate society should do - extend our hand to them just in case they feel they do need help but have not "allowed" themselves to look into it. (I'm thinking psychological as well.)

    PS, I know your personal philosophy is to "keep society out of it," but I'm thanking you for reminding us of the victim, in the thread about the perp.
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2012
  20. RI Patriots fan

    RI Patriots fan Rookie

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    Conservatives realize that it isn't their responsibility to change people. Conservatives believe in personal liberty. Conservatives believe that more government isn't the solution to individual problems but rather personal responsibility and personal morality.
    The Great Society produced nothing but the Great dependency. The War on poverty has been waged for almost 50 years, has cost us trillions and yet nearly 20% of Americans are on food stamps today.
  21. PatriotsReign

    PatriotsReign Rookie

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    Still applies....why not?

    But I guess if one conveniently leaves out the most important part of my post (in bold), it's easy to get confused....as you did.
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2012
  22. DarrylS

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    You are talking about preventative services vs. curative services, as a society we allow certain segments to fall between the cracks as dealing with them is too expensive for municipalities...

    If a school system id's a child with a learning disability, then all types of responses have to kick in due to federal mandates of PL 94-142 and the NCLB legislation.. so the LEA's are reluctant to id such a child, it is easier not to notice his/her educational deficits.. the end result is a person who becomes dependent on a variety of government systems..

    Witnessed over the years lots of lip service, and changes in how we provide for these kids.. but the "grey area kids" are the most concerning as the LEA's do not want to provide special services as these services are not only long term, but very expensive.. hard to say a young child is responsible for not availing him or herself of a good education.
  23. PatriotsReign

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    Ok, but we can't force school systems to become day care centers too.

    I think we know most of the problems, but we never seem to deal with the answers. Making school systems into day care centers does not address the real problem.....irresponsible parents.

    If we don't deal with the real problem, then the problem will escalate and eventually our citizens look to government to solve all our problems. And that has never been nor will ever be the role of our gov't.

    Why is it that values have deteriorated so much in our society?.....

    Anyone?
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2012
  24. DarrylS

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    Children of "irresponsible parents" should be cast by the wayside???
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2012
  25. PatsFanInVa

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    I think we -- "Society" -- has self-interest in keeping Joe in contexts that do not interact with his known proclivities to produce additional harm to others in society. After all, more people have such proclivities, given the right context, than admit it -- mainly because they don't live in those contexts. Probably some of us here, especially given the violent ideation we see all the time, just talking politics on a bulletin board.

    I think we -- "society" -- has self-interest in remaining a society of laws, and that includes not just increasing all penalties so we don't have to deal with "Joes" again. We tried that w/"3 strikes" laws. Result: a prison-industrial complex horrifically weighted against minorities. No real progress for guys like "Joe" here and our ability to re-assimilate him.

    These two self-interests for society are not served by present solutions.

    So I do not agree that society has no interest in the question, and I think the Conservative response to such questions is a cop-out.

    PFnV
  26. PatriotsReign

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    Should Americans look to our government to solve all their problems?
  27. PatriotsReign

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    I think we need to look at the issues that people like "Joe" create for society from a pragmatic perspective and not an emotional one. I also believe we should look at all our problems from this perspective.

    Since we know we can't just keep increasing government spending moving forward, I think we need to look at the cost/benefit of every single dime we spend. If we have programs that result in little benefit, we need to consider cutting/ending that spending.

    The reality is that we need to look at all these costs from the perspective of those paying for them, not from the perspective of those receiving them. So what is the return on our investments?
  28. PatsFanInVa

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    No, nor should government solve all of anybody else's problems. Nobody suggested that government solve all of Joe's problems, or anybody else's. Why don't you try rephrasing in a realistic formulation?
  29. DarrylS

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    Children do not choose their "irresponsible parents"..

    If you do not take care of children when they are young, they become completely dependent in the future...

    More "collateral damage" from the Neo Cons.. only those who are the fittest will be allowed to surive and prosper.. then whine and bytch about the rest.
  30. PatriotsReign

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    PFiVA....there are people here who look at every social issue/problem and ask themselves "why isn't our gov't doing something about this?"

    I could go through a list beginning with school systems, homeless, people being foreclosed upon, children living in difficult homes....etc., etc.

    Government is not the answer to all of the above.

    And I'm not saying that you're one of these people.

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