Monday, February 8, 2010

Enhanced parenting?

Father "waterboards" daughter for refusing to recite the alphabet:

A soldier waterboarded his four-year-old daughter because she was unable to recite her alphabet.

Joshua Tabor admitted to police he had used the CIA torture technique because he was so angry.

As his daughter 'squirmed' to get away, Tabor said he submerged her face three or four times until the water was lapping around her forehead and jawline.

Tabor, 27, who had won custody of his daughter only four weeks earlier, admitted choosing the punishment because the girl was terrified of water.


  1. This is sickening and I'm so saddened by this. I can't believe their are so many Catholics that are arguing that waterboarding is not torture! Where are those commenters now? Why aren't they speaking up right now saying that this father's tactic was a perfectly normal consquence?

  2. Elizabeth writes : "Where are those commenters now? Why aren't they speaking up right now saying that this father's tactic was a perfectly normal consquence?"

    Perhaps they're not speaking up because they do recognize that context matters.

    For instance, if a strong man is strangling me, I can jamb my thumbs in his neck to cause him as much pain as possible, or I can even jamb my thumbs in his eyes to rip out his eyes, in order to coerce his will to cease desiring to strangle me. Actions which would qualify as torture and mutilation objectively looking solely at my acts sans context.

    Taken in the context of self defense, those objective acts become reasonable.

    Thus if context is not only not irrelevant but essential to the substance of the act as to what the Church condemns, then the question is, what are the distinctions which are according to the substance of the act? For instance, is it a substantial difference if the coercion is intended to cause an act versus causing the cessation of an act which is occurring? For instance the difference between attempting to coerce a strong man from strangling me as oppose to the ticking timebomb where the attempt is to coerce the will to do an act which it is not currently doing? And if it is a substantial difference, why and how do we know that it is?

    Adding on, I'm not convinced that the ticking timebomb is substantially different, because the in a way the act of refusing to defuse the bomb is a continuation of the prior act of setting the timer in the first place because the willed act of the end, i.e. the bomb going off is the same.

    Perhaps waterboarding is always torture, perhaps not, but what if the father had spanked his daughter? Is that likewise torture? Once again it depends on context because even spanking can be torture in the wrong context.

  3. let me add, I find it appalling that a parent would punish in any form whatsoever a four year old for not being able to recite the alphabet. The waterboarding of the four year old is simply an extreme example of the common societal expectations demanded of tiny children to do what is beyond their competence. A problem exacerbated by parents never being around children until they have their own, along with the marketing of classes and programs to turn each child into a virtuoso. Let the children play in the fields and make mudpies.