Sunday, April 15, 2018

Permissible torture?

Write an essay in which you develop a position on whether or not, torture is acceptable in the world today. Synthesize at least three sources for support.

Torture is, and always will be morally wrong in any situation according to the Geneva Conventions; however, in an instance where torture prevents an even more morally unjustifiable action then I believe it would be justifiable on account of being a lesser evil.

Much of the world heavily condemns torture regardless of the circumstances since it is and always will be a violation to human rights. There are some in the world though who believe that torture is permissible under specific circumstances. One hypothetical dilemma where they endorse tourture is the ticking bomb problem. Basically it is a scenario where a terrorist planted a bomb that will kill thousands of people and you’ve just captured him, will you torture him in order for the location of the bomb to be revealed. In this dilemma and in ones that could be similar in real life it can be argued that these instances can produce torture that is morally acceptable since, as the BBC page on ethics puts it, “Torturing the terrorist is unethical, but in those circumstances it is the 'right thing to do'.”

To go off of the instances where torture is permissible under specific circumstances, the torture has to be sanctioned with a warrant in order for it to be accepted. As Alan Dershowitz stated in his Bostonglobe article, a law sanctioning search warrants would “implicitly legitimate torture in extreme situations, and that’s a bad thing, but it would also create visibility and accountability, which is a good thing.” The implementation of torture warrants would help make torture acceptable by making the public aware that it is being conducted rather than having to cover up torture as in previous decades. Torture warrants can also be helpful in gauging public opinion on said torture. If the torture warrant is received in a positive light by majority of the populous, then the act of said torture can be viewed as morally acceptable.

There are certain forms of torture that will always be unethical; however, interregional torture is one form that can be excluded in some instances because the tortured is given a way out, to divulge up any information that is relevant to the questioning. As Sanford Levinson in his book Torture puts it, interrogational torture, for it to be morally permissible, needs to serve an important purpose, be the least harmful means to that goal, and have a defined and reachable endpoint. All of these criteria help create an acceptable form of interrogational torture when done properly since it does not revel in the agony of others and is strictly done  for the betterment of others at the expense of the tortured, if of course the point of serving an important purpose is viewed as the ticking bomb problem stated earlier.

Levinson, Sanford. Torture. Chapter two written by Henry Shue, Oxford University Press, Inc., 2004, pp. 56-57.
Dershowitz, Alan. “A choice of evils.” Bostonglobe, Sept. 18, 2014
“The ticking bomb problem.” BBC

Monday, February 19, 2018

Vengence is sweet

Write an essay evaluating the extent to which will humans go to seek vengeance against an action committed by another human or creature.

When sufficient harm is done onto another, either bodily or psychologically, the person that was harmed will seek out the thing that had caused the incident.
One such incident is seen in Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, where the white sperm whale, Moby Dick, amputates Captain Ahab’s leg. Later on in his life Ahab leads an expedition for the sole reason of killing the whale that left him an amputee. He is willing to put his crew and himself in immense danger in order to slay Moby Dick.
In the first book of the Sherlock Holmes series, A Study in Scarlet, a man by the name of Jefferson Hope hunts down and kills the two men who were responsible for his lovers death. In Utah, Jefferson Hope tries desperately to preserve the lives of Lucy and John Ferrier who are being hunted by Mormons. While scouting to find safe passage, John is murdered and Lucy is kidnapped to become the spouse of a influential Mormon, Enoch Drebber, and later dies. Because of this, Hope travels from the United States to Europe to kill him and his associate Stangerson.
After their defeat in 1918, many Germans were disgruntled with the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, where they had to give up much of their territory in Poland and in France as well as pay the allies a large amount of money for reparations. One such man who would rule Germany in the years to come was Adolf Hitler. He blamed the loss of the war on the Jewish people who he thought didn’t contribute enough to the war effort. Once in power, he orchestrated the systematic destruction of Jewish property and life in what is now known as the Holocaust.
When one feels wronged in a way, it is only human to devise a means of retribution in the hopes of finding solace.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Keeping it mum

I've finally finished The Texas Rangers, which was hard to do since it has five hundred plus pages, and have moved on The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, which is a classic fiction. Throughout the week, I've managed to read two hundred and ten pages out of two hundred and eighteen. Now that I know I can read a book in about a week, I believe I can reach my goal of reading four books and then some.

In the book The Adventures of Tom Sawyer One of the main plot lines involves the murder of Dr. Robinson being killed by Injun Joe while Tom and Huck watch. They promise not to tell anyone about the ordeal which allows Joe to survive throughout the novel. "Tom thought a while, then he said: "Who'll tell? We?" "What are you talking about? S'pose something happened and Injun Joe didn't hang? Why he'd kill us some time or the other, just as dead sure as we're a-laying here" (74). I used this quote because it shows how some people can get away with murder because people don't testify against them for fear of becoming the next target. Because they feared for their lives, Tom and Huck did not tell anyone about the murder. This silence, that was broken by Tom in the trail against the supposed killer Mr. Potter, allowed Joe to escape the city and live as a fugitive. "The strain upon pent emotion reached its climax when the boy said, " and as the doctor fetched the board around and Muff Potter fell, Injun Joe jumped with the knife and-" Crash! Quick as lightning the half-breed sprang for a window, tore his way through all opposers, and was gone" (150). I picked this quote because of how if Tom didn't testify, then they would hang an innocent person and Joe would get away with his supposed sixth murder.

One of the main reasons why Injun Joe is able to make his escape is because Tom and Huck never told anyone about the murder until it was too late. This can be paralleled with real life where murderers are free of charge because witnesses fear retaliation from friends or people who are affiliated with the said murderer. In order to be more informed about how witnesses are protected from the offender as well as an in depth look into being a witness click here.

Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Reader's Digest, 1876.

Victims and witnesses: Understanding your rights and the federal court system. Offices of the United States Attorneys, 24 Mar. 2015. Accessed 11 November 2017.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Texans against Mexicans and Native Americans

Now that I'm back in school and in an AP English class, I will finally continue by book blogs that I have left hibernating over this summer. My first book that I am reading right now is called The Texas Rangers. This book is about the history of the Texas Rangers, from the first American settlers in Texas to present day. Out of 500 or so pages, I have currently read 190 pages. After this book I will hopefully get to read a total of eight books.

In the book The Texas Rangers, one of the main conflicts that the Texas Rangers faced was the fight against the Native Americans and the Mexicans. The Texans hate the Mexicans because they had to fight a war for Texas independence against the Mexicans and afterwards have been raided numerous times by Mexican bandits stationed in Mexico. "As Captain McNelly approached the border, he found the country overrun by bands of armed men who had assembled for the ostensible purpose of self-protection, but who could scarcely be distinguished either by appearance or preformance from groups whose sole object was to plunder and raid" (238). I picked this quote because it showed the overwhelming  presence of bandits in Texas at that time. The Texans also hold a grudge with the Native Americans who also raid land in Texas, taking horses, cattle, as well as killing, and capturing people. However, this all changed when the Texas government forced all the Natives out of Texas, "If you want to have a full description of our Exodus out of Texas, read the Bible, where the children of Israel crossed the Red Sea. We have had about the same show, only our enemies did not follow us to the Red River" (171). This is a great quote because of how it is an analogy of the expulsion of the Indians from Texas and the Biblical Exodus led by Moses.

Even though Texans despise both Mexicans and Natives, it can be said that Texans went to greater lengths to purge the country of Native Americans, and it is shown in the fact that many of the Native tribes were pushed out of Texas, which is talked about here. Due to the  Native Americans constantly raiding and pillaging the Texas frontier, the government decided it would be best if they were relocated out of Texas. A prime placement for the Indian reservations was in Oklahoma, so many Native tribes crossed the Red River into Oklahoma and settled into their new home.

Webb, Walter Prescott. The Texas Rangers. 2nd ed., University of Texas Press, 1989.

Expulsion of the Cherokees, Texas State Library and Archives Commission, June 23, 2017,

Sunday, January 8, 2017

How chaos almost ruled the world


         The last book that I will read to reach my goal of finishing eight books is The Serpent's Shadow which is the third and final book in the Kane Chronicles. I've almost finished it and hope to finish it before the deadline so that I can finish my goal. The book takes place a couple months after the second book (which I also did a blog on) and focus's on the rise of the serpent chaos god Apophis after he was set free in the second book.The only way to destroy Apophis is by capturing his shadow which in Egyptian mythology is the fifth part of a soul, humans and gods alike have souls and can be utterly vanquished if there soul is destroyed. Carter Kane and Sadie Kane ,who are the main characters, must find out how to capture and destroy Apophis's shadow in order to restore balance between Ma'at and Chaos.

        Spoilers for The Serpent's Shadow: In all of the books there is a prophecy in ancient Egyptian religion that during the end times the chaos god Apophis would swallow the sun and create everlasting chaos on earth. After the Sun is swallowed, he will have free will over Earth, it's inhabitants, and the gods themselves. In order to stop this Carter and Sadie Kane must work to delay the prophecy by allying gods and magicians in order to stop Apophis. Helping Sadie and Carter Kane is Amos, there uncle who recently became the leader of a group of magicians called the House of Life, however he and his supporters can't help that much because the groups numbers are thinning. But Lord of Chaos does not work alone, rebel magicians who oppose the Kane's try to thwart them from causing any harm to the chaos god. There leaders, persuaded by Apophis himself try to rid the world of any hindrances, whether they be the Kane family and their followers, or the House of Life and there supporters. What would you do in such a time of Chaos, would you fight against it or will you fall to it's corrupting ways?

Friday, December 16, 2016

God will give him blood to drink

I have just finished the book The House of the Seven Gables which is my AP book title and that brings my reading goal to seven books. All I need to do is read one more book to reach my goal of reading eight books. In the House of the Seven Gables the Pyncheon family is cursed by a supposed wizard who was lynched by the orders of Colonel Pyncheon. The story takes place many epochs after Colonel Pyncheon and starts with the old, poor, and cranky Hepzibah. She and her brother Clifford live alone in the House of the Seven Gables rarely engaged in life outside of there own. However, that changed when a country girl by the name Phoebe came to visit her aunt and uncle and soon the house became more lively than before.

This will contain spoilers for The House of the Seven Gables: when the wizard Maule set a curse on Pyncheon family he said, "God will give him blood to drink." and is referenced throughout the book as the curse that he placed of the Pyncheon family. Colonel Pyncheon, after he had been bestowed Maules deed to the plot of land that he desired, he built a mansion which came to be known as the House of the Seven Gables. After it complete he unfortunately was murdered by an unknown entity. This entity is assumed to be the works of the deceased Maule and his curse. Maule still after many epochs influences the house especially since it was the reason for Judge Pyncheons death, who was a old and greedy man who wanted power over anything else. With the death of Judge Pyncheon, Hepzibah, Clifford, and Phobe move out of the House of the Seven Gables and into Judge Pyncheons house ,which is more modern than the former, as well as inherit all of his wealth, leaving the House of the Seven Gables forever. If someone put a curse on you, how would you react?

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Egyptian Magic

                       The book that I have just finished was The Throne of Fire which is the second book in the Kane Chronicles. The Kane Chronicles are all about ancient Egyptian gods and Egyptian magic much like Percy Jackson only this book uses Egyptian lore. The book picks up the story of Sadie and Carter Kane who have created a sort of school for any member of a Pharaoh bloodline. Some students are as young as nine, and some are just beginning college. They will be trained by Carter and Sadie as well as their uncle Amos (a very powerful magician). In the beginning of the book, they have five days until the lord of chaos Apophis comes to eat the sun fulfilling the ancient prophecy. The only counter to this is for Sadie and Carter to reinstill Ra the sun god to his rightful throne and arch-enemy of Apophis, only then may they be able to stop chaos with order.

                      Spoilers for The Throne of fire: In the book, there are many forms of magic. Different gods yield different types of magic and the more powerful you are in the art, the more spells you know. But magic isn't something to toy with, people may feel all powerful with magic at their fingertips but if they use it too excessively they might just burn up because magic is about conserving power, the more power or the larger the spell, the more likely that the person casting the spell will burst into nothing. Powerful magicians have a higher breaking point but they can die all the same. This overuse of magic is a constant problem since it's used so often in the book it's actually how Carter and Sadie's mother died. Using magic like that makes the person feel weak and feeble and sometimes can cause people to blackout. So It's important in the book that people don't step over their boundaries less the are reduced to a pile of ash. If you had the power of an Egyptian mage, how would you use it?