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Have you ever had Sympathy for a prostitute or a serial killer?



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,086 ✭✭✭ Jequ0n

    Where did I suggest she agreed to be raped?

    I am saying its irrelevant as the adult version has a choice over their life. If a person wants to prostitute themselves and buy drugs it’s their choice.

  • Registered Users Posts: 56 ✭✭ GunnerBlue

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,312 ✭✭✭ Ray Palmer

    I explained it in a way that I thought you might understand. If you answer the questions put to you I will answer your question

  • Registered Users Posts: 19,861 ✭✭✭✭ One eyed Jack

    Ray you’re like someone that swallowed the DSM5, dial it back a bit for goodness sake.

    Nobody is suggesting that anyone is responsible for anything they aren’t responsible for - they’re not responsible for their own upbringing for example, but they are entirely responsible for their behaviour as adults.

    One can certainly either sympathise or empathise with another person or people, but being unwilling to do so doesn’t mean anyone is psychotic or any of the rest of it. It’s really basic stuff that doesn’t need to be complicated.

    Using the example of the woman in question who the OP was talking about, Aileen Wournos - it’s as you suggested earlier, easy to have sympathy for the idea that she suffered a difficult childhood, but that doesn’t necessarily have any bearing on her choices either to enter into prostitution, or to kill seven men. I don’t suggest anyone have any sympathy for the men she killed, because they made choices too which indicate they were fairly shìtty individuals.

    However she may have felt, or didn’t feel about them, Aileen Wournos had a choice as to whether or not she should kill them, and she knew that killing them was wrong. She initially argued that it was in self-defence, and later admitted that it wasn’t in self-defence at all. That’s where your comparison to our ability to sympathise with or empathise with animals also falls down - humans just don’t have an ability to empathise with animals. Certainly we can sympathise with them, but empathy is an entirely separate concept.

    You’re again just falling into the trap of assuming that if we understand what motivates one individual, we can apply that knowledge to other individuals who exhibit the same behaviours. Same way you suggest that most serial killers are believed to be below average intelligence in contrast to Seamus’ point that they are above average intelligence, when in reality - both statements can be true, depending upon where you get your information from.

    In Wournos case specifically, we know that she was capable of both empathy and sympathy, and that she was not psychotic or psychopathic, but entirely and fully responsible for her behaviour. Nobody has claimed she is responsible for what happened to her in childhood, and that cannot and should not be used as an excuse or an explanation for her behaviour as an adult.

    We know for example that the vast majority of adults who experience abuse as children, do NOT go on to commit abuse as adults themselves. The reason surveys and statistics are often skewed to present a misleading understanding of reality is because they are based upon surveying people who have been convicted of offences, who are by reason of their behaviour, not the most trustworthy, reliable or credible subjects for any study.

    They’re far more inclined to tell people doing the survey what they think that person or people want to hear, similar to the way in which parole hearings are conducted, and they wish to elicit sympathy from their audience - they’re doing it because there is often an incentive for them to do so. It’s the reason why when people who abuse children are being tried, they claim that they too were abused as children, evoking exactly the kind of reasoning you’re applying - that would explain why they thought their behaviour was acceptable, or they felt compelled by factors outside of their control to inflict cruelty and suffering upon another human being. In many cases it’s precisely because they ARE capable of understanding the effects of their behaviour upon another person is the reason why they do it.

    Not because if they hadn’t been abused, they wouldn’t go on to do it to another person, but precisely because they have a fair idea of the effect their behaviour is likely to have on another person. That knowledge too, is based upon empathy, and their lack of sympathy for another person’s suffering. I think that’s the distinction you’re missing in claiming that on the basis of your disagreement with another person’s opinion, according to you they must be psychotic. That’s fairly shaky reasoning if you don’t mind my saying so.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,086 ✭✭✭ Jequ0n

    I had read this as a rhetorical question. You can argue that everything influences you, and some people get dealt a rougher card than others. It doesn’t take away from the fact that you are still responsible for your own actions and choices, and how you deal with them. Plenty of people out there who play the eternal victim card instead of getting their **** together.

    You will find that the vast majority of people, even if they have impaired empathy, are perfectly able to distinguish right from wrong. It’s ultimately a choice whether we adhere to these rules or don’t.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 7,312 ✭✭✭ Ray Palmer

    You still didn't answer. I am saying you have impaired empathy based on what you have said

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,312 ✭✭✭ Ray Palmer

    Don't know why you had to write all that and bring up things I didn't say or suggest. Never said abusers go on to abuse for example. It was al about people not having sympathy or empathy for people who committed crimes. Never suggested freeing people from jail either. This is where your entire rant falls down as I didn't say the things you wanted to talk about and as such has nothing to do with what I said

  • Registered Users Posts: 19,861 ✭✭✭✭ One eyed Jack

    No different Ray than your own claim you were explaining something to someone in a way you imagined they would understand.

    I won’t accuse you of having impaired empathy though for trying to deflect from the point being made, because that would be stupid.

  • Registered Users Posts: 859 ✭✭✭ 85603

    I lost all sympathy for the unabomber when in some interview he casually brushed off blinding some people.

    Like 'oh that device didnt really get the job done, just maimed or blinded some people' said nonchalantly, because he had grander, more important plans you see.

    Over the cliff he goes. It wont fix the world unfortunately but hey operational setback. I'm sure he'd understand.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Yeah she did make those choices, but her absolutely ghastly childhood at the hands of that degenerate, and the trauma that resulted, is bound to have shaped those choices. So I do partially blame her grandfather, and her mother for neglecting her. A monster was created.

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  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Yeah the Unabomber seems like a manipulative sort - I've felt bad for him myself... but hang on, he literally posted bombs that were opened by random individuals, who were either killed or maimed.

    The CIA experiment stuff was horrific - his rage understandable. I assume also that he was high on the spectrum and/or has serious mental health issues, and this left him a lonely boy, which is heartbreaking. I feel sad for that little boy. But his anger and despair resulted in him taking it out on innocent people, and having a complete lack of empathy.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,312 ✭✭✭ Ray Palmer

    Stupid is talking up an entire other subject and claiming they are the same. The empathy or sympathy levels or a perpetrator of a crime has nothing to do with that of the people hearing about the crime and their OWN empathy and sympathy. There is no relationship to what you spoke about and what I was speaking about

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,086 ✭✭✭ Jequ0n

    I still can't see how the reading/ writing example you want to debate will change anything. I will assume you are basing this hypothetical scenario in some part of the world where these skills would not be picked up by the schooling system. Of course this will impact you and exclude you from certain routes in life unless you decide to do something about it. You can, of course, also decide to blame everyone else for your misfortune and accept that this is enough of an excuse to justify all of your life choices. It's sink or swim.

    Of course I have impaired empathy, I never made a secret of it.It's the reason why I asked the previous poster for his rationale because it interested me.

  • Registered Users Posts: 19,861 ✭✭✭✭ One eyed Jack

    What, you mean like asking the question if someone isn’t taught to read or write is it their own fault? You did that Ray, nobody else.

    The empathy or sympathy levels anyone feels towards another person is entirely based upon their capacity to sympathise or empathise with that persons circumstances, in this particular case, the case the OP was referring to - Aileen Wournos, and that’s why I used her as an example to make the point, one which I have no doubt you understood perfectly, one which you claim there was no relationship to what you were speaking about and what I was speaking about, based entirely upon what you had said.

    You can choose to pretend you’re having difficulty understanding the relationship between what you said and my response, but I know that not to be the case, precisely because I know you’re NOT stupid.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,312 ✭✭✭ Ray Palmer

    the tried to break him mentally as an experiment when he was younger

    An analogue is that not a completely different point which is not what you did. Explaining that behaviour/moral is learnt like any other piece of knowledge is nowhere near the same as what you did.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,312 ✭✭✭ Ray Palmer

    then when I said it I was correct. That is therfore your problem and nothing I can solve for you. You should just accept you have the issue and trauma to a person means they will be damaged and have extremely limited choice. It is not the same as saying everybody is a product of their environment and they can brush it off as an adult and make good choices from then on. You might as well be asking a person with a broken spine to walk

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,086 ✭✭✭ Jequ0n

    As I said earlier: you do not need empathy to know right from wrong.

    All you are doing is explaining and justifying how people do not have a choice over their lives and how they pan out, no matter the circumstances.

    If a prostitute prefers to freeze her ass off, instead of changing her life, then it’s her choice and I can’t see why it’s deemed so unacceptable if someone doesn’t sympathise.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,312 ✭✭✭ Ray Palmer

    Actually you do need them to know what is morally right from wrong. Because you lack them you have to be told which is right and wrong, that is you problem. It's like you are colour blind and nobody can see it for you. You are not fully functional and appear to be saying you are on the autistic spectrum. You need to accept that is part of your condition and understand others have conditions and can't see the world like you. You need to learn this restriction and see you can't change it the same way others can't change their behaviour if is damaging to them or not. You assume choices are equal for all when they clearly aren't

  • Posts: 0 ✭✭ [Deleted User]

    There's some interesting reading by a Dr Seligman who wrote the book on learned helplessness. He performed shock training on dogs by placing them in inescapable situations until they were conditioned to not to react to opportunities to escape, even when they were later placed in safe environments the dogs were unable to respond. He used this information to base his hypothesis that clinical depression and related mental illness result in part from a perceived absence of control over the outcome of a situation.

    Can't post links because I'm not here long enough. He wrote a lot of books though.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,086 ✭✭✭ Jequ0n

    You are very quick to jump to conclusions. I am not autistic, though I can see how you came to this wrong conclusion.

    Yes, there are situations when you need to be told more clearly what is acceptable or not, but whether you adhere to it is an entirely different bag.

    I was not speaking of morality or ethics, but of legal implications of right and wrong. Most murderers who willingly kill someone were aware that they are breaking the law. Morality is just a bizarre concept that is so individual that it cannot serve as a benchmark.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 7,312 ✭✭✭ Ray Palmer

    legality is nothing about right and wrong but morality is. You made all the noises that you lack empathy for all so sounds like you are on the spectrum. A person certainly can't comprehend something you can't feel, taste, or see due to some issue like colour blindness, lack of taste buds or lack of empathy doesn't mean these things don't exist

  • Registered Users Posts: 19,861 ✭✭✭✭ One eyed Jack

    If a person experiences trauma in childhood it absolutely does not mean that they are inevitably damaged or broken or that they will have limited choices, and certainly their choices are not limited to either becoming a prostitute or a serial killer! If you want to work that backwards - it doesn’t mean that either prostitutes or serial killers inevitably experienced traumatic childhood abuse.

    You’re looking to backwards rationalise their behaviour as adults and you’re going to run into issues very quickly with that methodology. It’s easy to assume that people who are either prostitutes or serial killers experienced childhood trauma that influenced their behaviour as adults, but that’s neither empathy nor sympathy, it’s projecting your own ideas onto other people.

    It’s no different than the way earlier when you didn’t share a person’s opinion, they’re psychotic, and now when you don’t share another person’s opinion, they’re not fully functional according to you and they appear to be saying they’re on the autistic spectrum, even though they’ve never given any such indication.

    It’s as though you can’t see the irony in your own behaviour towards others.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,776 ✭✭✭ Riddle101

    I can have sympathy for a prostitute because I don't think prostitution is such a serious issue to judge someone over. Although I'm aware of the shady nature behind it in regards to human trafficking, but the prostitutes themselves are just trying to get by for the most part I think. I mean it's not like they're drug dealers who sell poison to people, they're sex workers. The traffickers and the people who sell them out are the ones I have no sympathy for.

    A serial killer on the other hand is a different issue. It's hard to have sympathy for someone who has taken the lives of many innocent people in such a brutal fashion as a lot of them tend to do. Whatever their background, they're far too gone as humans, and so I can't give sympathy.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,086 ✭✭✭ Jequ0n

    You can assume all you like, but it won't make your assessment correct. Unless you are more qualified than the professionals who assessed me. I couldn't care less what you think of me, but I am free to ask others questions even if you consider me defective.

    Morality is not set in stone. Something might seem immoral to you, whereas I don't see an issue with it, and vice versa. There are a million factors that will influence your opinion in this regard, and you will find variations not just around the globe, but probably even within your own social circle.

    Therefore, for me, morality is nothing but an individualised concept that has no real meaning.

    Post edited by Jequ0n on

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,295 ✭✭✭✭ Rothko

    Lol, check out the keyboard psychiatrist here. Utterly laughable.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,319 ✭✭✭ chicorytip

    There is "controlled" prostitution - for want of a better term - in Ireland which works by online advertising on sites such as Escorts Ireland. Those selling their services would be a mix of self employed and those controlled by criminal gangs involved in trafficking girls for prostitution. Street prostitutes, like the lady you encountered, tend to be drink or drug addicts who may be working for a pimp (abusive partner) as well as to feed their habit. Yes, I would have great sympathy for somebody who sells their own body in order to survive. It indicates both desperate personal circumstances as well as a chronic lack of self esteem to choose such a path in life.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,722 ✭✭✭ pgj2015

    I have sympathy for this guy. They wont even give him books to read, the prison system are being very cruel to him, it shows they are as bad as they think he is.

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,581 ✭✭✭✭ B.A._Baracus

    Whys that tho? I don't think I am missing something here as the article you posted says he was a killer and also killed in prison.

    Dude is a violent murderer.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    He's definitely an example of a monster created. Would he have carried out his atrocities if not for the beatings, sexual abuse and confinement he endured? Doubtful.

    The prison staff probably have safety concerns - he seems highly volatile - but 23 hours a day locked up in a vault with nothing but his thoughts seems inhumane. Yes I know what he did was certainly inhumane, but shouldn't the prison be held to a higher standard?

    Post edited by [Deleted User] on

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,086 ✭✭✭ Jequ0n

    You can likewise argue that none of these killings were undeserved.