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Thread: Comparison of collective punishment and... "generalized offenses" or "collective v...

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    Regular Member stealthyeliminator's Avatar
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    Comparison of collective punishment and... "generalized offenses" or "collective v...

    Collective punishment is punishing a group for the actions, offenses, or violations of an individual in that group. It is unjustifiable and fails to recognize individuality. While often times groups of individuals can all be guilty of violations or offenses, they must each be charged, tried, convicted, and sentenced individually based on their individual actions.

    Generalized offenses are like collective punishment, but instead of the collection being one of individuals which might actually contain a mix of guilty and innocent, or more and less guilty, generalized offenses are collections of actions which might sometimes be a legitimate offense, but arenít always and canít be assumed to be such, by mere fact that they are categorically similar to an action that is a legitimate offense.

    Generalized offenses punish actors for an action which is placed into a collection and treated the same as all other actions in that collection whether the individual action in question rises to the level of legitimate offense or not, just by virtue of the fact it categorically fits in the collection. Generalized offenses are unjustifiable for many of the same reasons that collective punishment is unjustifiable.

    For instance, an action which is usually a legitimate offense, say drunk driving, might be turned into a generalized offense so that all instances of drunk driving are collectively punished without consideration of whether or not the specific instance of drunk driving actually violated or endangered another person.


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    I was just thinking about this. Thoughts?
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    Regular Member J_dazzle23's Avatar
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    I'm not really sure. I would think that, as with most things, context is everything. For example, if a basketball team is doing conditioning drills, and one or two guys slack, it can do some pretty cool team building teaching to keep the whole team running until everyone pulls their weight.

    The military, especially in special forces/seal training, etc use this theory as well in many aspects, as I am sure many of you know.

    When applied to rule of law, otoh, I believe that society should be responsible for itself as a whole, but responsible for themselves INDIVIDUALLY. I hope that makes sense. Violating anothers' rights or committing a crime is an individual act, and should come with an individual consequence in most cases, IMO.

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    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    The only situation involving the legal system where I can see collective violation, and thus collective punishment, being acceptable is in response to a declared riot.

    The procedure is supposed to be the reading of The Riot Act, instructing the people to disperse (possibly giving them a time limit), and then dealing with everyone who refused to disburse as equally providing RAS/PC for arrest by the mere fact that they did not disburse.

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    Regular Member stealthyeliminator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark View Post
    The only situation involving the legal system where I can see collective violation, and thus collective punishment, being acceptable is in response to a declared riot.

    The procedure is supposed to be the reading of The Riot Act, instructing the people to disperse (possibly giving them a time limit), and then dealing with everyone who refused to disburse as equally providing RAS/PC for arrest by the mere fact that they did not disburse.

    stay safe.
    Thanks for the replies.

    I don't think that would qualify as collective punishment, per se. Their membership in a group isn't the basis for their arrest, but individual RAS/PC (albeit, perhaps not legit RAS/PC) is still used for each individual (they didn't disperse). I think collective punishment would be more something along the lines of, if there were a group walking down a sidewalk, and they were clearly a group, and one of them decided to throw a brick through a store window, and it couldn't be determined which individual in the group committed the offense, the whole group is punished for breaking the window. At least where I'm from, we see collective punishment often in parenting, when a rule is broken but it can't be determined which child did it. Collective punishment can occur even when it can be determined which individual(s) in the group committed the offense, but the easiest examples are when it can't be determined. After thinking about it, I guess the riot example could be an example of collective punishment, if you consider each individual part of the collection 'rioters' merely by virtue of the fact they're in the area.

    However, I think this riot example probably could also or instead qualify as "collective offense" (this is why I think they make a good/interesting comparison) - the mere fact that they didn't disperse, in my opinion, isn't evidence of participation in the riot or evidence of causing harm to anyone. All of the actions (or inactions) of remaining in the area are put into a collection and treated the same based on the sole criteria that the actions (or inaction) didn't include dispersing from the area, and they are treated as participation in the riot whether the actions actually amounted to participation or not.

    In either case, I would disagree that it's a legit case. Putting individuals or actions into collections (collective punishment, collective offense) based on criteria that itself doesn't meet the level of offense shouldn't be used to arbitrarily spread charges to a wider breadth. Like collective punishment, collective offense categorizes based on the wrong criteria and as a result, catches innocent in the net along with the guilty. Better that 1000 guilty go free than 1 innocent suffer unjustly.
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    Regular Member twoskinsonemanns's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stealthyeliminator View Post
    Thanks for the replies.

    I don't think that would qualify as collective punishment, per se. Their membership in a group isn't the basis for their arrest, but individual RAS/PC (albeit, perhaps not legit RAS/PC) is still used for each individual (they didn't disperse). I think collective punishment would be more something along the lines of, if there were a group walking down a sidewalk, and they were clearly a group, and one of them decided to throw a brick through a store window, and it couldn't be determined which individual in the group committed the offense, the whole group is punished for breaking the window. At least where I'm from, we see collective punishment often in parenting, when a rule is broken but it can't be determined which child did it. Collective punishment can occur even when it can be determined which individual(s) in the group committed the offense, but the easiest examples are when it can't be determined. After thinking about it, I guess the riot example could be an example of collective punishment, if you consider each individual part of the collection 'rioters' merely by virtue of the fact they're in the area.

    However, I think this riot example probably could also or instead qualify as "collective offense" (this is why I think they make a good/interesting comparison) - the mere fact that they didn't disperse, in my opinion, isn't evidence of participation in the riot or evidence of causing harm to anyone. All of the actions (or inactions) of remaining in the area are put into a collection and treated the same based on the sole criteria that the actions (or inaction) didn't include dispersing from the area, and they are treated as participation in the riot whether the actions actually amounted to participation or not.

    In either case, I would disagree that it's a legit case. Putting individuals or actions into collections (collective punishment, collective offense) based on criteria that itself doesn't meet the level of offense shouldn't be used to arbitrarily spread charges to a wider breadth. Like collective punishment, collective offense categorizes based on the wrong criteria and as a result, catches innocent in the net along with the guilty. Better that 1000 guilty go free than 1 innocent suffer unjustly.
    Though perhaps not a great fit, it reminds me of the various contributors on fox news declaring it is the Muslim's in america that should be responsible to root out the extremists among them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by twoskinsonemanns View Post
    Though perhaps not a great fit, it reminds me of the various contributors on fox news declaring it is the Muslim's in america that should be responsible to root out the extremists among them.
    Do they decide what is an extremist? In about 1095 the Saracens were wheeling carts full of heads through the streets of Spanish cities to convince the residents that the Infidels were not to be minded. This is their tradition, is it extreme?

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