The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

No good deed goes unpunished, they say

This being Saturday and all, I was looking for a reason to rant, political style, and came across this:

Scott Sisters Kidney Donation Threatens Organ Transplant Laws [Read here]

If you don't know the story, it goes like this... about 17 years ago, two young sisters were arrested for their part in an armed robbery netting a grand total of $11. Per the NYT-

"The Scotts were arrested on Christmas Eve 1993 and convicted the next year of leading two men into an ambush during which the men were robbed of about $11, according to the trial transcript.

The sisters’ accomplices, three boys ages 14 to 18, have served their sentences and were released from custody for the crime years ago, Mississippi officials said. The sisters have denied playing any role in the crime.
[Full story here]

Well, fast forward to 2009 when the sisters petitioned for early release (they were due to have parole reviewed in 2014) so that the healthy sister could donate her kidney to the younger sister. It apparently took some time for this to reach the desk of Haley Barbour, governor of Mississippi, who has signed an order commuting the sentences but carrying the proviso that the organ must be donated.

Heart-warming? A real human interest story? Well, yes, it started out that way. A gracious governor granting clemency to loving sisters who appeared to have been given unjust sentences with a an organ donor twist. Just tugs at the old heartstrings, does it not? Well, that was how the initial stories went. Then the tone of the story, and the emphasis, has changed.

Now it's all about transplant ethics.

I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. After all, Barbour is being touted as a possible Republican candidate for president. The odds against him making even a a moderately successful run at the nomination are slim to none but that doesn't seem to matter. I doubt that Barbour wasn't looking at the political considerations of his commuting their sentences, don't get me wrong. I just think it had more to do with the flak he was receiving over prior comments about how he didn't recall the racial animosity in his hometown in 1955 as being all that bad and not about any presidential aspirations. Not only would he do some good for Mississippi's Corrections Department (removing their liability for the transplant costs, though it would likely just shift to Medicaid), for the sisters, and for (presumably) his own image. It seemed like a win-win situation.

I am nothing if not pragmatic. If the motives are selfish but the end result is all good, seems ok to me.

I would think that some people who are questioning the ethics of the commutation deal ought to look at the ethics of those questioning it. Why is the ethics issue coming up in this fashion? Why now, rather than in January of 2009 when the sisters petitioned for early release and brought up the transplant deal as a bargaining chip?

I think I know why.

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