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Mr. Shakes

Borgia is just sickened by the whole idea

There's a phrase one doesn't come accross too often in the history books!

Kevin Wolf

I'm afraid that by the time Fontana was added, I'd bailed on the original L&O program. It just didn't have the old snap anymore. I think you're right that this theme would have been treated differently (better) if done a few years ago.

I do agree with you about the argument made for torture as if this or that worst case scenario was happening at this very moment. It's annoying, it trivializes the issue and the hard choices that may have to be made, and it treats the listener as a child.

But, hey, that's been the Bush method all along. Keep us in the dark because we can't handle the information and then tell us to trust the administration to make all the right choices (despite their clear bias and incompetence).

Sadly, too many of my fellow citizens are content to be childish and let Bush, Inc have their way.


"Because it doesn't take much for stupid, bloody-minded, cowardly, and basically terrified people to argue themselves into thinking they are good and smart and doing the right thing for the right reason"

Our 10 yr old was asking her father some political question last night and I don't know what it was, but I overheard a portion of his answer and it was that the government used to set safety nets to keep stupid people from hurting themselves or doing harm unto others, but now the stupid people are running the government and therefore the average person must be smarter and look out for those running the country before they hurt themselves or hurt others...


Great post, Lance. Loved it, even though I didn't see the episode. I remember an episode a long time ago, where Logan & Briscoe (I think) had a suspect they were convinced had taken part in a crime. The guy is wounded and hurting, and they keep him in the questioning room for a long, long time ... and it just gets excruciating, you want to throw up because what they are doing is so terrible, even if the guy is guilty. And then I think it turns out he isn't. I wish I could remember the specifics, maybe I can turn it up on a fan site.

Anyway, this one sounds simultaneously too easy and too hard. I loved the really old L&O, with the grit of the city. Now it's all rich people offing each other.


As a long time L&O fan, I miss the more gritty story lines as well.

The episode to me did not seem to resovle anything -- it didn't push one far enough to feel one way or another. Personally, I despise anyone who harms children and wants them to be punished SEVERELY. With that said, I am a firm believer in the ethics within the law.

What, they couldn't have staked the guy out and busted him redhanded? Violence and wrong doing do not beget violence and wrong doing.


Oh, I know it wasn't the central point, but I simply could not hold it in. All episodes of "Law and Order" bug me because if all the episodes are ripped from the headlines, then I'd much rather watch a nice, gory, sleazy A&E documentary!


Thanks for the nice dissection, Lance.

Back when the debates about torture were still going strong in the blogosphere, I found myself sickened by them, because in debating which circumstances might make it acceptable, people were de facto accepting that torture could be acceptable.

I did, and still do, disagree. Some things are are beyond the pale, regardless of circumstances, and anyone who engages in them deserves full condemnation and punishment, even if a positive result occurs because of them. Torture is one of those things.

Ken Muldrew

"Nevermind that torture is reprehensible, unamerican, and almost impossible to justify except by resorting the unlikeliest and most exteme hypotheticals."

Lance, you've been away for a while. Torture is now wholly American. Everything else, you got right.



I know. Every time I get back from Mars these days, it feels like I've landed in a brand new and totally foreign country.



the point is, ALL the characters knew that what Fontana did was wrong, and the show was about the different ways they responded to the horror. I don't recall one person, including Fontana, who thought what he did was right.

Hamilton Lovecraft

I've got a really simple solution to the 'ticking bomb' torture question.

Say you're a soldier or a policeman, you've got a suspect in custody, and you think you're looking at a ticking bomb scenario, and you think torturing the guy will save 10 or 100 or 1000 or however many lives.

Here's the protocol that I believe in:
- You sign a confession to having illegally tortured someone and hand it to your boss.
- The boss decides either to stop you, or to tell you how long you have to torture the guy before he puts a stop to it.
- Say your boss goes along; at this point, he's guilty of either conspiracy or misprision of felony.
- You go in and you torture the guy.
- If you get good information before the time limit, you get the information to the people that can stop the bomb, and you and your boss turn yourselves in for torture and conspiracy/misprision.

If you save the lives you thought you could save, you are a freaking HERO. The court of public opinion finds you to be a hero. Your governor or your president pardons you & your boss and gives you both medals.

If you're wrong, you're in jail for however many years your self-confessed felony torture is worth.


And now we've declared that a lunatic is "eligible" for the death penalty on the basis of "evidence" largely extracted from untruthful persons by torture.

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