Re: Moral Dilemma
Bruce E. Cobern (bec@PIPELINE.COM)
Wed, 29 Apr 1998 19:53:46 -0400
At 12:22 PM 4/29/98 -0600, David Yanke wrote:
>Sorry for quoting this whole thing, but I did not want something taken out of
>context. Reply at end..
>I am more than a little disturbed that this is even a question. Yes, he
>Yes, he broke the law. Yes, he should be dealing with consequences. There
>isn't even a gray area here.
>I would hope before the school pursued any questioning like this his parents
>would be contacted and present, and he does have the right to request that.
>This wasn't a little "mistake" and he wasn't "used" by someone without
>consenting, he broke the law and it is his responsibility. I'm hoping these
>real occurrences. I also have to wonder why hypothetical questions are even
>being asked on this list.
>To state that "Constitutional laws and acts" override morality is just plain
>inappropriate. "I'll only tell the truth if you meet MY conditions" is in
>being honest or forthright. Are we passing similar attitude on to the scouts?
>I know this may come across as a flame, and maybe it is, but we really need
>to start worrying about what is right before we ask if it's legal.
While I have been know to sometimes disagree with Mike (sometimes? often?
always? :-)), this time I think that he is basically on the money. This is
a totally legal situation and in our society the legal system has been
structured to work in a certain fashion that is designed to protect
EVERYONE. Thus, advice to deal with the situation in accordance with the
structure of our legal system is on the money.
Mike never suggested that the young man deny the incident, what he suggested
is that before he admit it he should find out what his rights are, what the
consequences of his action are likely to be, and if there is any way that
those consequences can be adjusted. NONE of that is immoral in any way.
Even the police are required to, in effect, tell you to say nothing, so why
should we counsel otherwise?
Aside from that, I don't see where you came to some of the conclusions you
did based on the original post. Nowhere in that post was there a statement
that the young man KNEW what was in the package when he was asked to hold
it. Nor was there a statement that the parents were notified and present
when the questioning was taking place. You said you hoped it was so, but
how is that so different from Mike's suggestion that the young man say
nothing until he talks to his parents?
If, in fact, the young man did not know what was in the package then it is
VERY important that he not admit to anything without first seeking legal
counsel because, in today's society it might not make a difference. As we
see from Chuck Bramlet's recent post, nobody wants to take responsibility
for applying any judgment so the legal system might not care whether he knew
or not, and so it might be very important HOW he deals with admitting to the
Bruce E. Cobern
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City