The Instigator
Poltergeist
Con (against)
Winning
21 Points
The Contender
Cliff.Stamp
Pro (for)
Losing
20 Points

Rights For the Mentally Handicapped

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/5/2011 Category: Society
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 3,373 times Debate No: 15803
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (6)
Votes (6)

 

Poltergeist

Con

Here is the proposed situation (True story) A random McDonalds, a mentally handicapped man is with his state appointed helper, a small child enters the scene no more than five years old, the mentally handicapped man for some reason is enraged by the child and kicks it, not hard enough for the child to be knocked down but still the gesture of a threat is there, the parent of the child, punches the man in the face and knocks him to the ground. Is this an example of good parenting or should the man go to jail? My Stance: The Parent is definitely in the right, if I were a parent in that situation and someone touched my child without my permission, yes that person mentally handicapped or not would be hurt.
Cliff.Stamp

Pro

Con, raises an apparently obvious truth, for anyone who has a young child, the rage they would feel at seeing their child struck would be so immediate and obvious. To be quite frank, I have acted out of rage at seeing individuals I have cared for harmed - but, once emotion is left, once this situation is examined with reflection it is just as immediately obvious that not only is this action not right, it is also not just, and even more than that, it is irresponsible.

Simply consider the following situation - the mentally handicapped individual is hit in the throat by accident, or after being knocked to the floor seriously hits his head, etc. It is not difficult to imagine that in a non-movie event, such a confrontation could result in the death of the mentally handicapped person. In this event the parent has just committed manslaughter[1] and now has devoid the child of his parenting for quite some time. As such a parent can not longer effectively be responsible for their child they, by definition, have acted irresponsible.

However even in the more mundane approach where the handicapped individual is simply bruised, a little shaken up and not permanently hurt. What exactly has the parent demonstrated? They are not acting to protect the child as this is done by simply removing the child from the situation, nor are they acting according to the law which would be to report the crime which is one of battery[2], instead they have demonstrated to the child that they alone have the right, and possibly even the duty, to act as judge, jury and executioner, obviously not a sensible lesson for the child.

Finally, to actually turn to the specific issue of the mentally handicapped, Con is apparently attacking the position where someone would excuse the mentally handicapped because they are not responsible. Now to fully consider this proposed paradigm let us imagine the situation where the child was assaulted by another child, would the parent then make the same claim? Of course not. It is obvious that the adult has committed an even worse act as they have committed battery on an individual which is far less capable than himself and even possibly incapable of realizing they have done harm.

Now consider what does it mean to be mentally handicapped[3], it is so defined to mean :

-Significantly subaverage intellectual functioning

-Concurrent deficits or impairments in adaptive functioning in at least 2 areas

-Onset before age 18 years

Now it is obvious that for example an individual who has significant mental impairments which prevent employment, academic development etc., would not in any way make them less responsible. However there are those that are mentally handicapped to the extent that they have severe social and interpersonal skills, not capable of even being aware they are causing harm. On such individuals the parent is not only as noted in the above clearly breaking the law, acting without responsibility, they are actually causing harm to an individual who was not even aware they had caused harm and can not be expected to interpret the punch as an effect of their actions.

Note this last clause is explicit in that such an individual is incapable of knowing it was punished, it could be incapable of knowing that it was struck in the face for hitting the child. In such a situation what is the purpose of the act? The act in this case is clearly nothing more than sadism, it is causing harm to another for no other reason than a desire to cause harm for personal benefit. Again, it can not be argued to be for protecting the child and in fact it could put the child in danger because the parent could in fact start a fight with the individual and their handler and even the surrounding public.

In short, the proposed solution is in all cases, if the individual is mentally handicapped or not :

-illegal
-irresponsible
-unjust

and in the case of severe mental retardation where the individual is not capable of understanding they have caused harm or that they have received punishment, this is simply an act of sadism.

[1] http://www.duhaime.org...

[2] http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com...

[3] http://emedicine.medscape.com...
Debate Round No. 1
Poltergeist

Con

Let me start off this round by stating that in the previous round, Pro is mistaken, the act of the parent was not self gratification but a natural primal need to defend one's young. In this round I would like to propose another situation, at a small town local grocery store works a 50 year old mentally handicapped man, not mentally handicapped enough to be a danger to himself or others but is still under the line of mental retardation. This man works around a much younger crowd than himself and often feels attracted to the young female employees from highschool and college. He often expresses this fondness in an inappropriate manner, invasion of space, "accidental" bumping, and a few reports of inappropriate touching and fondling. He takes pictures of the young female staff with his camera phone and after he gets off of work he likes to go to the nearby college campus to oggle the female students and take pictures of them, sometimes even asking them if they want to "Be in a movie". The female staff of the grocery store have complained numerous times about him and they are unable to do anything because it is unlawful to fire a mentally handicapped man. Had this man been in a higher state of mind he would be fired, arrested, or worse. Does he still have a job? Yes. Are his actions going unpunished? Yes. Which brings me to my main point, just because a person is mentally handicapped, it shouldn't mean that that person gets special privlages, would a man who was blind, deaf, or paralyzed from the waist down get away with such actions? No. Cases like this true case happen a lot and more often than not society looks the other way because "They don't know better" or "He doesn't know what he is doing." Even if they did not know it would still be better to remove them from the public. Am I saying that all mentally handicapped people deserve to be treated like this? No, but why? Because not all of them ACT like that. But I see the worse cases all the time, nobody does anything about it, and it makes me sick.
Cliff.Stamp

Pro

"Let me start off this round by stating that in the previous round, Pro is mistaken, the act of the parent was not self gratification but a natural primal need to defend one's young."

First of all, the resolution concerns if the act is "right", and as a culture we have long past the point where we would adopt primal instincts to defend what is right. As a trivial example, could I justify the kidnap and rape of a woman because a claim of a primal need to procreate - obviously not a valid reason. Simply because we have base needs, desires and reactions left over from when we were such creatures, is no excuse to act on such impulses and then argue "well it is just my DNA boss - I used to be a monkey".

But even more than that, as noted in the opening round, engaging in direct conflict is not an act of protection it is an act of irresponsible endangerment. Who exactly is protecting the kid while the parent gets in a fist fight with the mentally handicapped individual and what exactly is the protection if the parent could lose the confrontation or the confrontation escalates and the friends of the handicapped individual are drawn in or people in the adjacent area? It is really argued to be the act of a rational parent to not protect the child first, but to last out to dispense their idea of justice - and by what means do they have to claim said right?

Further, extend all arguments as noted in the above round which were not addressed which contend any such action in all cases is :

-illegal
-irresponsible
-unjust

and in the case of severe mental retardation where the individual is not capable of understanding they have caused harm or that they have received punishment, this is simply an act of sadism.

"... they are unable to do anything because it is unlawful to fire a mentally handicapped man."

What exact law is it which prohibits firing someone who is mentally handicapped? This law certainly does not exist in Canada because under the OH&S act and regulations, there is zero tolerance for harassment at the workplace, and the behavior does not need to go nearly as far as required in order to result in termination.[1,2]

"Yes. Which brings me to my main point, just because a person is mentally handicapped, it shouldn't mean that that person gets special privlages ..."

Note this resolution, while interesting is not the actual resolution made in the opening post which stated that the act of punching the man in the face was right. Now if Con wishes to argue that particular resolution then I would readily engage it as well because they are proposing a significant change to our legal system which does recognize both capability to understand and intent as relevant aspects which influence what is just in any offense. Thus in order for a mental handicap to have no influence on the law it would require appealing these fundamental principles of law which would have significant effect on other areas as well.

For example a person with a severe mental handicap gets "special treatment" in the eyes of the law in regards to rape as they can be found not to be able to give consent and thus they can be treated as a minor even if they are typically past the age of consent. Thus if Con really wishes to remove mental handicaps from consideration of justice then this is just one of the problems that would be induced as such individuals would have far less rights than they should have when it is considered the extent to which they can protect themselves.

[1] http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca...
[2] http://www.hrsdc.gc.ca...
Debate Round No. 2
Poltergeist

Con

It is not my fault that Pro overlooked the title of the debate, but just to be clear the debate is about "Rights for the Mentally Handicapped" not "is it okay if a mentally retarded man gets punched out by a concerned parent". While my opponent is right about society socially evolving past the point of primal needs such as mate finding or monkey like behavior, he does forget the hard fact that if you have somthing like the love for your child, there is nothing that is going to take that child away from you. In the first round Pro argues that... "Simply consider the following situation - the mentally handicapped individual is hit in the throat by accident, or after being knocked to the floor seriously hits his head, etc." It does work both ways in fact, what if the mentally handicapped man started to ferociously attack the child instead of just kick it? Or even worse, if the father did not act how far would that little kick have gone? Do you think that the man would have just kicked the child and went on his way without a care? If that man had been arrested and tried under a jury he would have been excused of all charges based on the fact that he is mentally handicapped, the jury would feel sympathy for the man because of his "Special case". On another point, to reitterate, this argument is over the rights of mentally handicapped people, not just one specific case, the case was used as a jumping off point, an example of how much they can get away with. Let me be very clear about one thing, my argument is on the side of ethically correct societal behavior, being morally just, on a large scale, and forgive me if I misinterpreted your last paragraph but it was rather hard to follow, you stated... " in the eyes of the law in regards to rape as they can be found not to be able to give consent and thus they can be treated as a minor even if they are typically past the age of consent." I did not know if you were saying the mentally handicapped person in question was the rapee or rapist because even in cases not involving mentally handicapped people it would not matter if the rapist gave consent, he is a rapist... By definition one party has to refuse consent in a rape case. But I assume Pro is smarter than that so the mentally handicapped person must be the victim, in which case wouldn't being treated like a minor a good thing? The penalty for raping a minor is much worse than raping an adult. Yes, this is the point that Pro is trying to make but he is forgetting one thing in this case the mentally handicapped person gets the better treatment than a regular adult who would most likely be more traumatized by the event. Where is the justice for them? You tell me.
Cliff.Stamp

Pro

"It is not my fault that Pro overlooked the title of the debate, but just to be clear the debate is about "Rights for the Mentally Handicapped" not "is it okay if a mentally retarded man gets punched out by a concerned parent". "

Con's needs to re-read the OP :

"My Stance: The Parent is definitely in the right, if I were a parent in that situation and someone touched my child without my permission, yes that person mentally handicapped or not would be hurt."

The resolution was a vague half-sentence, not asserting any claim or lack of claim in particular. In the opening post Con described a specific scenario and then concluded what right should be had in that particular case. To argue that the resolution should be somehow vaguely interpreted otherwise and that the opening clarification should be ignored (simply because it is obviously refuted) is highly absurd, but if Con really wants to take the stance that mentally handicapped people have no rights at all - then by all means make the argument for that.

"It does work both ways in fact, what if the mentally handicapped man started to ferociously attack the child instead of just kick it?"

In such a situation, the first act of a responsible parent, who acts out of rational thought to protect the child is not to attack the mentally retarded individual - it is to protect the child, it is ALWAYS to protect the child. It should be obvious that attempting to punch the mentally handicapped man is not sensible as during this action they can still be attacking the child, the attack could fail, it could instigate further violence - and in all of these cases the child is still in danger and could need medical treatment which is being ignored. This is not a right action, and again as noted in the original post the parent is not "definately in the right" for reasons which stand again unrefuted.

"If that man had been arrested and tried under a jury he would have been excused of all charges based on the fact that he is mentally handicapped, the jury would feel sympathy for the man because of his "Special case"."

Really, and this general assertion is backed up by law, can the case law be cited to support this - or at the very least rulings on such cases to support this generalization that anyone with a mental handicapped is free from prosecution of battery simply because people feel sorry for them?

"Yes, this is the point that Pro is trying to make but he is forgetting one thing in this case the mentally handicapped person gets the better treatment than a regular adult who would most likely be more traumatized by the event."

They do not get the "better" of the event, they are just as raped, and if Con really wants to argue that rape is less of an assault if the individual is mentally handicapped then again, by all means make that argument and defend it - not just assert it. I would look forward to hearing that argument.

Again, the point is that the law does give specific rights to the mentally handicapped because issues such as intent, "ought to know", and consent are critical in justice and thus there needs to be recognition of any relevant mental handicap. If Con wishes to argue against that then again - make the argument, not simply state it as fact and realize that as a consequence they are actually denying mentally handicapped people who can not as noted give consent, claim rape. If Con wants to argue for that then again by all means - make the argument.

In short, Con has :
-ignored all arguments presented to oppose the original claim
-make continued assertions with no actual reference support
-attempted to shift the resolution when positions have been refuted

The resolution is strongly negated.
Debate Round No. 3
Poltergeist

Con

"In such a situation, the first act of a responsible parent, who acts out of rational thought to protect the child is not to attack the mentally retarded individual - it is to protect the child, it is ALWAYS to protect the child."

Pro wants me to counter him instead of plead my own case, I can stoop to his level, no problem. In this quote you see above, Pro actually agrees with me but does not seem to realize it.

"...and as a culture we have long past the point where we would adopt primal instincts to defend what is right. As a trivial example, could I justify the kidnap and rape of a woman because a claim of a primal need to procreate - obviously not a valid reason."

So, Pro, let me ask you this, how does one protect somthing by not eleminating the problem? To me it soounds like you are being a hypocrite. But then I am just looking at your own words to back up my argument.

Am I here to say that mentally handicapped people do not deserve rights at all?
" Am I saying that all mentally handicapped people deserve to be treated like this? No"
As stated in round 2.

I do not condone the mistreatment of any handicapped person mental or otherwise. As Pro states in round 3, " (Con argues) rape is less of an assault if the individual is mentally handicapped"

I do not make this claim, rape is rape, however the mental process one goes over after going through rape would affect a person with a sound mind more than a person that was mentally handicapped. But with the mentally handicapped person giving the rapist a more harsh punishment. As Pro stated "they are just as raped". So, if they are just as raped, then why does the rape of a mentally handicapped person offer a harsher punishment?

In short, Pro has:
- contradicted himself
- contradicted himself again
- tried to point out faults in my argument when he has not paid enough attention to his own.
Cliff.Stamp

Pro

"So, Pro, let me ask you this, how does one protect somthing by not eleminating the problem?"

This has been dealt with in detail many times in the above, extend all arguments as to why a violent and direct confrontation with the mentally handicapped person is not right for all aspects noted in the above and is not in the best interest of the child - none of the arguments were even touched upon, let alone refuted by Con.

"So, if they are just as raped, then why does the rape of a mentally handicapped person offer a harsher punishment?"

There is no extra punishment if a rapist assaults a mentally handicapped person. However again as noted in the above, the law recognizes that a mentally handicapped person may be so handicapped as to be unable to give meaningful consent.

Con has

:refuted none of the arguments presented, extend all arguments made
:made numerous assertions and when asked for reference/support, dropped all arguments
:attempted to change the resolution when it was refuted
:has now switched to personal commentary as the argument is without substance

The resolution is negated.
Debate Round No. 4
Poltergeist

Con

Throughout this argument you have all seen strong points from both sides, however to say that the resolution is negated before the final round is over, is foolhardy, prideful, arrogant, not to mention disrespectful. Pro has made the same arguments tirelessly, the child needs protection, meaningful consent can not be given by someone mentally handicapped. To argue these points as I already have would create the same effect as beating my head against a brick wall. I am not saying that my arguments are poor but I am saying that Pro has completely ignored them, his mind is clearly in need of some readjustment if he thinks he has won by simply saying I won! I apologize for the personal attack that has nothing to do with this argument, but stubborn people like that make me angry.

Before I make my final argument for this debate I would like to share a little bit about myself. I am a correctional officer for a Texas state prison. I see the worst of the worst every day, people who have murdered, robbed, and raped the innocent. I am around them every day, most of them are able bodied, able minded, and some of them have mental issues such as schizophrenia and the like. The latter is but a very small minority in the prison system, even less in that category are the mentally retarded. Pro wants sources but I tell you all I am the source, the things I see every day, even outside the prison, are morally disgusting. The true story in round one is featured on you tube and I have personally seen similar cases. I have gone to Wal Mart before and seen a mentally handicapped man start yelling for no reason, his helper tried to calm him down but he just pushed her off him. Did anyone interfere? The answer is an obvious no. Did the mentally handicapped man know better? Of course not. Should that be a valid excuse for such negative behavior? No.

I do not have a prejudice against the mentally handicapped, nor do I believe that they should get treated worse than they deserve. All I wish to happen is equality, for them to have the same penalties and punishments as we do. One could argue that they have been given an unfair circumstance and this is true, but when they go too far and are a blatant danger to others they should be taken out of society to an environment that is safer to everyone. Life has dealt them a loosing hand it is true, but that should not make a difference when it comes to the law. In the case in round one the father did the right thing by punching the mentally handicapped man, protecting the child from any further harm, as any loving parent would. I know that if someone showed a gesture of a threat to my child they had better be prepared to pay the price.

I will not end this argument showing how my opponent has faulted, nor will I say I won, that is not up to me that is up to you, the voters. I will simply sum up my entire argument in one final sentence. I believe that the mentally handicapped should be punished like the rest of society for criminal behavior, and if there are laws like the case of raping the mentally handicapped having a more harsh punishment than a regular person, they need to be repealed to be fair to the rest of us.
Cliff.Stamp

Pro

"I will simply sum up my entire argument in one final sentence. I believe that the mentally handicapped should be punished like the rest of society for criminal behavior, and if there are laws like the case of raping the mentally handicapped having a more harsh punishment than a regular person, they need to be repealed to be fair to the rest of us."

To recap :

The resolution was a vague statement - "Rights For the Mentally Handicapped", the position of Con was clarified in the opening : "My Stance: The Parent is definitely in the right, if I were a parent in that situation and someone touched my child without my permission, yes that person mentally handicapped or not would be hurt."

When this opening position was soundly defeated Con attempted to revise the resolution as they could offer no response to the rebuttal to the actual resolution and opening statement. If Con wishes to debate the different resolution made in the closing then this is welcomed but that is a different debate.
Debate Round No. 5
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by daley 5 years ago
daley
Anyone who agrees with Pro in this argument is either mentally handicapped themselves, or is just very unrealistic. Maybe Pro doesn't have kids or know what it mean to love and protect your children! Ss for me, if I had a little child, and a I saw a man attack my child by shubbing, hitting, biting, or whatever other means, I would hurt that person!

But what if he's suffering from mental illness? At the moment, in the heat of that moment when my child is being attacked, I don't have time to aks those questions and find out anything about this man; also, I'm not about to just wait and see if it escalates or if he does it again. I wouldn't take that chance with my child, because the next blow could be fatal, and no amount of punishment for the handicapped man can bring my child back nor easy my pain of loss; prevention is better than cure.

It seems like Pro was imagining that a parent would take time to question the man in hopes of finding out if he is handicapped before they decide if to hit him. How very unrealistic!

He also assumes it is possible to get the child away from the man without attacking the man. How the heck does he plan on doing that? Suppose he is grabbing the child by the hand? No right-minded parent is just going to beg the man "please, sir, would you kindly let go of my daughter?" And even if they do, the man is insane, we have no gaurantee that he'll obey! If he isn't holding the child, and the parent just swoops in and picks the child up in his arms, his arms are now full and he cannot defend againt any attack from this insane person who was attacking a little child and would probably attack an adult too. So by not attacking the man, and fulling your arms with the child, you have made yourself defenseless against an attacker that MIGHT get away with it on the basis of his disability.
I would knock him down and ensure he can't hurt me or my child anymore; if he's sane enough to press chages against me he's sane enough to behave better.
Posted by Poltergeist 5 years ago
Poltergeist
No, I do not. If you are going to imply that I do not understand the complexities of caring for them, or what they think or feel, you are wrong. I am familiar with them.
Posted by Cliff.Stamp 5 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
Poltergeist, out of curiosity do you have any friends/family who are severely mentally handicapped?
Posted by Poltergeist 5 years ago
Poltergeist
I saw this video on youtube last night and I looked at the comments, a debate was going on about how morally wrong it was to hit a man who is mentally handicapped. The reason I did not release more information about him was because I did not know any more than that. I wanted to debate whether it was morally right to defend your child in that situation or if the mentally handicapped man was treated too harshly at first, then later it would progress to the point of do we let them get away with too much, which I think we do.
Posted by Extremely-Far-Right 5 years ago
Extremely-Far-Right
Well Poltergeist, in this debate you really have to include a lot of information about the man. Because you can randomly bring in some knowledge about the invidividual that wasn't present in round 1 and we would have no way of refutting that because we do not know the person and/or enough about them. That is a big flaw with the argument.
Posted by feverish 5 years ago
feverish
The general issue of rights for the mentally ill or handicapped is quite seperate from the specific case you give in round 1.

As a parent, I thnk the reaction is totally understandable and perhaps even moral, but no it shouldn't be legal. Hitting someone who has attacked your child is an act of aggression not defence. If the man's behaviour suggests he's going to do it again, then that's a different matter of course.
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by fire_wings 8 months ago
fire_wings
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Reasons for voting decision: cvb
Vote Placed by phantom 5 years ago
phantom
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Reasons for voting decision: countering bozotheclown, though I do like family guy
Vote Placed by bozotheclown 5 years ago
bozotheclown
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Reasons for voting decision: LUCKY THERE'S A FAMILY GUY!!!
Vote Placed by Lordknukle 5 years ago
Lordknukle
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Vote Placed by DylanAsdale 5 years ago
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Vote Placed by Ore_Ele 5 years ago
Ore_Ele
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Reasons for voting decision: Con dropped many points and tried to change the resolution mid-debate. Con also made several claims without backing them up, and even after being asked to back them up, still did not.