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It's time to punish mobile phone menaces: it's time to bring back the birch!

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/11/2013 Category: Society
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,118 times Debate No: 35500
Debate Rounds (2)
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Birching is a corporal punishment where a birch rod is used to whip the offender's bare buttocks. Until the last century the birch was used in Britain to punish naughty schoolchildren, juvenile delinquents and errant prisoners. [1]

Today I am proposing that the birch be reintroduced to be used by the police as an on-the-spot punishment for the new crime of 'walking without due care and attention whilst using a mobile phone'.

This measure is long overdue: when walking through crowded public areas how often have you had to dodge out of the way of some arrogant, ill-mannered tosser who was engrossed with his smartphone rather than looking where he was going? Plenty of times, I'm sure.

They expect you to look where they are going and to get out of their way: they expect the crowds to part for them as they walk along texting prostitutes, or stalking girls on Facebook, or watching child porn on the Internet, or whatever.

Who do they think they are? It's about time these cell phone fanatics were taught that possession of an iPhone or a Samsung Galaxy does not confer regal status upon the owner and the best way teach them that is to give them a DAMN GOOD THRASHING WITH THE BIRCH.

Thank you.



Good afternoon! I appreciate the challenge being presented regarding the mobile phone and the appropriate punishment for public rudeness. I hope to have a good debate.

I couldn't agree more with the frustrations related to mobile phone users. Mobile phone use appears to be growing to be the primary form of communication in the next five years. I think mobile phones are destructive to personal relationships both through lack of communication and accessibility to illicit communications in similar (although possibly less exagerated) manner as Pro.

I can't help but cringe, however, at the thought of implementing on the spot corporal punishment as a solution. For starters, I think that birching would be excessive to the crime. Not paying attention and bumping into someone or holding them up in a doorway seems a silly reason to strike someone.

Also, how do we know this punishment will be meted out fairly? Police are not always known for using proper judgement in heated situations. There is much documentation showing authoritarian abuses even in front of a microphone and video camera. Observe:

Imagine a cop with permission to do bodily harm and no one around. Corrupt cops aren't a knew thing. This is too easily abused.

My third argument is that this bypasses due process. It jumps directly from potential crime to punishment with no recourse. It's immediate. It's unappealable. And I submit that it's fairly arbitrary.

Finally, I am against birching on site because of the precedent. This comes in two fold: One, if birching is used for this minor infraction, what other infractions might it be applied to? Two, if due process is bypassed in this instance, how else might we ignore it as a society?
Debate Round No. 1


I would like to thank my opponent for his various rebuttals but I was surprised that he thinks that birching mobile phone menaces would be "excessive". Let's not forget that birching was the punishment meted out to children for being naughty so, if anything it's too lenient: if I had my way I'd have the bastards tazered and kicked into the gutter and left to fester in their own filth. However, a few lashes of the birch in a public place would cause the offender more humiliation than pain.

And so the rozzers might apply the law a bit too enthusiastically sometimes: in the case of mobile phone menaces this would be a good thing; and if the footage was filmed and posted on YouTube it would send the message to mobile phone abusers that their anti-social behaviour will result in, at best, a thrashing, but very possibly a proper kicking.

With reference to my opponent's concern about due process I would submit that, because walking without due care and attention while using a mobile phone is a fairly minor offence, it would be a waste of taxpayers money to involve expensive court proceedings.

Regarding setting precedents, I am in favour of on-the-spot punishments and think they should be extended further to include other offences such as urinating in a public place, being drunk and disorderly, using threatening language, etc.

My only concern with my plan is that gay sexual deviants will abuse the system for cheap thrills. I expect most homosexual gentlemen pay male prostitutes a lot of money to dress up in uniforms, pull down their pants and whip their behinds with birch rods, and they might abuse their phones in order to get this service for free from a police officer in the street. Hopefully, though, the police will rumble their game and arrange for them to 'accidentally fall down some stairs' at the police station instead.

Thank you.


Pro stated:
:"It's about time these cell phone fanatics were taught that possession of an iPhone or a Samsung Galaxy does not confer regal status upon the owner and the best way teach them that is to give them a DAMN GOOD THRASHING WITH THE BIRCH."

He then claimed that if he had his way, he would have the offenders tazered and kicked into the gutter and left to fester in their own filth.

I argue that while passionate in his statement, I don't believe he can have it both ways. This seems to indicate a confusion of views but more importantly, it goes right to my contention of precedent and abuse.

Imagine a police officer that felt similarly to Pro walking the beat and coming upon some dastardly cell phone assisted society abuser. Imagine, if you may, said enforcer of the law strolling along behind and tailing the suspect into a darkened alley. A few lashes later and the cop is on break and another unwarned violater is found beaten and broken in the ditch with no recollection of how he (or she) got there except for a couple of lashes across the back of the thighs and the hazy image of their cell phone being repeatedly smashed against their forehead.

Justice? Hardly.

The expense of court proceedings is the only caution agaist abuse of the system. It's not meant to be regular for the average citizen to come in contact with the court system in their day to day lives. I do not believe pushing aside due process can be excused in the name of cost. Responsible citizens are made responsible by the pressures of responsibility, not laws.

My opponent himself declares, assuming the large number of closet homosexuals in society that this will likely worsen the problem. Deviance is the new norm. There is no rebuttal of this fact.

While I acknowledge my opponents vehemence and indignation at the rudeness of cell phone users, I cannot, nor do I think anyone should, condone on the spot birching as the proper method of punishment for abuse. Clearly Pro is only expressing his racism against such individuals, not a valid argument for bypassing due process.

I recommend if he feels so strongly, he round up some like minded individuals and implement vigilante curb stomping.
Debate Round No. 2
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Naysayer 5 years ago
Somebody's gotta play the straight man...
Posted by Wocambs 5 years ago
I wonder if instigating troll debates should also be punished by a lashing.
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