Do you think animal abuse is criminalized enough?

Recently there has been a video circulating social media of a Canadian teenage throwing a cat a huge distance, so much so that the cat could have been killed (please do not look this video up if you are sensitive to that content.) The cat thankfully survived, but had his leg broken by the incident. The teenager was arrested, but people are concerned he will get off very lightly because of his age, and because animal abuse charges are rarely severe enough to match the crime.

I don't know about Canada, but here in the United States I see a lot of animal abusers get off with a fine and no jail time. I think there should a minimum jail sentence involved, and a ban on owning animals in the future. I believe that intentional animal abuse, especially by children and teens, is a precursor to murder and abuse of humans, and should be taken much more seriously.

Do you think that, in general, animal abusers are under-punished?

Was it ok to hit that woman?

Let's get this out of the way. I'm a guy. Ok, good, now that that's settled, let me get into it. (Caution: Long but interesting.)

I was at a bar with some friends one time and I was in charge of getting the next round. So, I went up to the bar to order some beers when this woman comes up next to me and shoves her way in between me and an empty bar stool, damn near knocking me to the floor. She was pretty flagrant with her movement so I assumed she was drunk. She looks at me and says, "Excuse me, sorry, I need to get the bartender's attention." Ok, so fine, cut in line, whatever, I don't mind. She's visibly impatient and begins to climb the bar stool. She started mildly jumping up and down on one end of it which caused it to tip over backwards. I saw it happening and reached to grab the stool. Well, when I successfully stopped her from suffering a concussion, she responds by telling me that I should keep my hands to myself. Right, ok. I said, "Sorry, my bad," and grabbed all my drinks. But, then she continued, "Um, yeah, ya know, that could be considered sexual harassment." That just sounded beyond stupid to me, so I said, "Ok, great, thanks. Have fun then."

Now, I'm happily back at my seat, sipping a lager and chatting with my friends. About 30 minutes go by and I can see this girl from across the room talking with her friends, her movements getting more violent. She then starts to walk over. I'm begging that she's just passing me to get to the restroom. Nope! She comes right up to me and starts (abbreviated), "Ya know, I don't think it's funny what you said, and sexual harassment is very serious, and I could have you sent to prison." I respond, "Well, sorry you feel that way, didn't mean to bother you." She then DEMANDS an apology. Usually, I would just say sorry and move on, but this was just obnoxious. I refused.

She then started acting like a five-year-old, crossing her arms, pouting and demanding more. I did not oblige. Here's where things take a turn. She says "Listen, I've been raped before, it's not funny!" I made the mistake of laughing because this whole thing was just silly. Yes, I understand how serious rape is but the manner in which this "lesson" was being presented was funny to me. So, I laughed for a split second. She didn't take too kindly to that and smacked me on the shoulder. I took this as playful slap like she was flirting so I laughed and half-heartedly apologized. She then smacks me across the face.

I didn't react. I told her to go back and sit with her friends, some of whom were already trying to calm her down. She slaps me again and yells in my face, "Rapist! Rapist! Rapist!". I told her to stop. She didn't and slapped me again. This time, her friends try to grab her. This prompts her to break free and legitimately attack me. She pulls my hair and starts punching wildly. Blow after blow, I felt it in my neck, and my chest, and a couple grazed my face. Her friends pulling her back only made her pull on my hair more, so, at that point, I said "F*ck it." I held her by the wrist of the arm that was on my hair and karate chopped her in the upper ribs, fairly hard. I'm not a fighter, I don't even know if karate chopping is a real thing outside of comedy, but it was the most effective thing one tier down from an actual punch; it knocked the wind out of her a bit and she let go. She began to cry and complain and yell more as she was carried off. I may have come off looking like an ass but I think I had it in my right to defend myself.

What do you think?

Can writers write about other cultures?

I recently had a short story rejected by a literary magazine, which was fine, and I agreed with most of the criticism they gave me, but at the end they said, "You shouldn't write from the perspective of another culture. Wait for someone else to write this kind of story." That really got me angry. They judged that I wasn't of that culture purely based on my name, not knowing my background. It seems incredibly judgmental to assume I don't know what I'm talking about, or to tell me I can't write about a culture I'm not part of.

This story has been through a workshop, where no one said it was inappropriate. I wrote the story with the guidance of someone who is part of that culture, and she fact-checked what I wrote. I've submitted this story to other places, and no other publication has said anything bad about the cultural aspect of it, so I have to assume this is a personal hangup held by the editors at this recent place.

Do you think that it's wrong to write about a culture you aren't part of? Movie directors direct films about cultures they aren't part of, and sometimes it's bad, but sometimes it's great. I'm not trying to claim I'm an authority, but it seems like art should be about bridging cultural gaps, not writing about your own world all of the time.

Government vs people?

I recently came across a story about a group of people who live is sad part of town and pay rent to a government institution. One man would only talk off the record about the problems he had living in the area. He was also a contractor for the same government branch and saw that the land owned by them in another nearby city with nicer houses was much better maintained and much harder to rent in. Everyone else I spoke to was too afraid to talk about it because they thought they would get evicted.


The state of Florida is now disbursing Irma relief. I have heard of people getting as much as $1900 dollars. I have heard that I'm eligible for such money. I don't think I lost that much during the hurricane but nobody else seems to care about that. What should I do?

How fast should you pay someone back?

If someone lends you money, how fast should you repay them?

Should companies expand into other industries?

I recently got a letter from Amazon stating that as a Prime member, I have access to their streaming service. This isn't news to me but, it got me thinking about how far this company had come. It was a simple delivery service that connected consumers to businesses but, now, it has grown into several industries; film production, content streaming, grocery, technology, even more I'm sure. And, it's not just Amazon. Enclosed in the same letter was an advertisement for a STARBUCKS ORIGINAL SERIES. Starbucks is now producing video content? Like, what the hell?

The thing is, where do you draw the line? To me, there's something harmful about massive corporations becoming engaged in other industries because I believe it creates an oligarchical market. Imagine if everything we consumed, from food to entertainment and everything in between, were almost exclusively provided by a select few companies. I believe that's the path we're headed down; a world where entrepreneurial endeavors are squandered and the small companies, or start-up efforts are not allowed to grow because Apple decided it wanted to start making designer purses (for instance). I don't know, I just feel like letting giants run loose is a bad thing and should be regulated, in the same sense that the U.S. does not allow monopolies.

So, what do you think? Should companies be regulated when it comes to industry involvement?

Should convicts compensate their victims?

MarsEvents's Side

OK, this is an argument I've had with a friend for a while. I say that if someone has been convicted of a crime (and it's a case where it's super obvious that they actually did the crime and didn't get railroaded by the justice system), that person should be made to compensate the victim or the lawyers could negotiate a deal where the sentence can be reduced if the convict pays back part or all of the money that they cost the victim in terms of property damage, medical bills, lost wages, etc. My friend disagrees with me and says that being sentenced to jail is enough, but my take on that idea is that throwing convicts in jail with no allowance being made for alternatives that might be more fair and just to all parties concerned is something that requires zero thought, does nothing to put victims back to rights, and costs taxpayer dollars.

tkron31's Side

My take on this issue is that convicts who have committed crimes that involve property damage or personal injury to their victims are often impoverished as it is and making them pay back their victims would put them in an even deeper hole. A system that reduces sentences if convicts pay back their victims would favor those who are more financially secure and can afford it. Yes, the justice should be reformed and more caring about the rights of victims, but jail sentences across the board will at least make things more equal and fair across all income levels.

Is it stealing?

I probably should have dealt with this particular problem months ago but I feel like it’s too late to do anything about it now… I call upon several babysitters when I need them, particularly because I don’t to ask my in-laws who live close by, and because my children do love younger babysitters. One babysitter in particular has been neglecting to leave me change after she’s paid for pizza or whatever takeout I order for the evening. All my other babysitters leave me the change in plain sight. But one babysitter in particular, who also happens to babysit for me the longest, never leaves me change and I know there has to be change. Once, I did ask and she said there was no change left because she’d called and ordered something extra. I believed her. But my oldest, who is 8, told me the next day that there was nothing extra ordered. So I stopped calling this particular babysitter back. But now it looks I’ll need to add her back to my “roster” of babysitters. So. Should I ask her about the whole shorting me change thing or is it too late? Is this considered stealing?

Is it OK to profit from the death of a fallen hero

I have a book idea that I want to follow through with, but the main character would be a former mentor of mine who committed suicide by skydiving. I knew the person in the final days of his military career. He was a former special forces soldier, with years of experience teaching skydiving. Just a few months after his retirement from the military, he was found dead. During a dive his main chute failed to open and his backup chute had not even been touched. My book would feature him as the main character, deciding to live instead, but with personal drive to clean up the world in his own peculiar way. I'm not sure that taking his name and characteristics is ethical, because the things I would be writing would be fiction.