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by Peter Moskos

May 24, 2011

"Give offenders a choice–prison or FLOGGING; (he's serious)"

From CNN's "In the Arena":
ONLY ON THE BLOG: Answering today’s OFF-SET questions is Peter Moskos.
Moskos’s new book is entitled, “In Defense of Flogging.”

The Supreme Court has affirmed a federal order telling California to reduce its overflowing prison population, a situation the majority said "falls below the standard of decency." California now has to figure out how to reduce the population by more than 30,000 prisoners. From your point of view, why does the prison system in the U.S. continue to fail?

Prisons fail because they don’t do what they were designed to do: cure criminals. And as long as we insist on fighting an idiotic “war on drugs,” nothing is going to better.
Read the rest of the Q and A here.


Kyle said...

Pretty soon I'll be telling people "I read Peter Moskos before he was popular/mainstream|when he was underground."

Thinking CAP said...

Maybe I've been out of the loop too long here, but the photo on the cover of your book looks like a whip and not a rattan cane. I guess that's just artistic license at work and I'm being too picky.

Why is it the "defense" of flogging as opposed to a "recommendation" given the fact it's not currently in use in the U.S.A (officially at least). Perhaps I'm being too picky again.

Finally, it seems hard to believe that "In the Arena" (the CNN blog name) there is such surprise at flogging, seems to me the "circus" and arenas are where the greatest acts of violence have occurred throughout history. I bet the Romans didn't even dream a society could have so many arenas, and they would be in awe of having commentators whose voices could be heard by all, over the screams of the people being killed.

Hm, one more thought. If the people of Oklahoma (or at least politicians and those behind them) think making hash should mean spending the rest of one's life in prison, how does that work out in flogging units? Should hash makers be flogged until they die of shock/pain or die from bleeding or what? Maybe they should be forced to carry around a rattan cane and whip their backs a few times per hour, like someone doing penance?

PCM said...

Yes. Artistic license. But good eye!

People wouldn't know what a rattan cane is. It's not distinctive looking. And everybody knows a whip! Also, only at a very late stage in writing did I actually replace the word "whip" with "cane." To me, for the sake of argument, it's the same thing.

As to "defense" versus "recommendation," it's all about how it sounds. "Recommending Flogging" ain't got no zing.

The penance issue makes me think of the Monty Python monks smacking themselves with bibles!

Thinking CAP said...

I agree about the sounds of the words. It also has the advantage of gearing the conversation in the way you cast it in your book's website.

I'm going to guess you heard about the woman who was caught drinking a beer — Singapore I think it was. There was an international brouhaha over her caning.

I think they use wet reeds on women vs. dried reeds on men.

Of course all this talk makes me think of this passage:

Luke 12:47-48
That servant who knows his master's will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows.

But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.

As far as I'm concerned this fully applies to the so-called ministers of God in OK who lobbied for the hash = life bill. They, I'm sure, can quote the Bible better than me, they probably know it says God is love and made all the plants, called them good and later called them clean. But just like the Pharisees of old, they are on the wrong side of all the prophesies of scripture they use to justify their brutal and small minded ways.

So which horn will they choose to be gored on? To beat/flog/whip others into submission, and to face those repercussions later, as we see above?

Or will they continue to choose imprisonment, and thus fulfill this portion of scripture, this being their reward: Revelation 20? Being locked up with the devil in the Abyss for a thousand years. Decisions, decisions!

Just out of curiosity, have you been flogged? Have you been sprayed with capsaicin? I'm going to guess you've not been water-boarded.

"Honey, there's a 'Mr. Death' at the door. He's here about the reaping, or something." (I can't recall the monks smacking themselves with Bibles; must not have seen that movie.)

PCM said...

Anybody can drink a beer in Singapore. At least anyone who can afford one, I hear they're very expensive.

I've been tear-gassed and maced (or capsaicined, if that's a word). Never flogged.

PCM said...

Here's the link. Turns out they're just wacking themselves with wood:


Thinking CAP said...

I left out a key part. She's Muslim.

Thinking CAP said...

Turns out they're just wacking themselves with wood:
Perhaps they were just bored. ;-)