The Instigator
jman31697
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
ColinMatthews
Pro (for)
Winning
9 Points

Should bullies be held responsible for murder or manslaughter if the victim commits suicide?

Do you like this debate?NoYes+2
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
ColinMatthews
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/27/2014 Category: People
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,199 times Debate No: 47907
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
Votes (3)

 

jman31697

Con

No i do not believe bullies should be held responsible for murder if the victim committed suicide. The definition of murder is the unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another. In this case the bully did not directly "kill" the victim. Therefore there should be no question whether it is murder.
ColinMatthews

Pro

It would be wrong for me to suggest that ALL bullies be held responsible for murder or manslaughter if the victim commits suicide, as there are many varying degrees of bullying. The severity, intent, and direct correlation between the bully's actions and the victim's suicide would need to be thoroughly examined by a court of law before blame could be apportioned to such a severe level as a murder charge.

However, to suggest that bullies should never be held responsible for such a death because they did not 'directly kill' the victim is unacceptable to me. This is not justice. I agree that the majority of cases of bullying would not be instigated with the intent of forcing the victim into suicide. In such cases, I do not believe the murder or manslaughter charges would usually fit the crime; other punishments could and should be issued here.

But, what of instances where the bully has such an intention as driving the victim to suicide? Are they to get away with this?

Clearly, our justice system already has a place for such punishments to be issued. An example:

Assisted suicide, whereby a person's life is ended with their consent, can result in murder or manslaughter charges being brought against the accomplices. Even if the accomplices only provided the person with the tools to end their own life, and did not carry out the deed themselves, murder charges can (and have been) brought against them.

Without delving too deeply into such a contentious issue as assisted suicide (and yet I can't help but quickly state my view that assisted suicide should be legal - apologies - that is an issue for another day) , this is merely an example to show that - in a legal sense - murder charges can be brought against a person who did not 'directly kill' another person.

I stand by the belief that murder and manslaughter are not limited to the direct 'killing' of a person. Intent and purpose to drive someone to end their own lives is every bit as pernicious and warranting of justice.

There are many ways to 'pull the trigger' as it were.
Debate Round No. 1
jman31697

Con

Suicide or any type of self harm is the result of their own action. What the bully has done to cause this is irrelevant to the case. In the case of Manslaughter the victim does not have a choice in his/her death. In suicide the victim has a choice to end his her life. In the case of assisted suicide the bully would have wanted to kill the victim but in a demeaning way.
Also the decision in the case cannot be thoroughly or even accurately made until you take into the fact that human nature in itself creates a myriad of personalities. These personalities in itself can range from melancholy to buoyant. What would be considered if a girl called another girl ugly and she committed suicide. Would these reasons not be taken into effect and evidence be shown for the harmful actions the girl has brought upon herself?
ColinMatthews

Pro

To say that a bully's actions are irrelevant to a victim's self harm or suicide is an irresponsible attitude to have. Bullying has a proven negative impact on a person's life. To show such a tolerable attitude to it is to disregard the lives of millions who are affected by bullying every year.

In your previous point, you cite an example of a girl calling another girl fat, resulting in the girl's suicide. Certainly, I would not suggest a murder charge be brought against this girl. Perhaps in this instance, as in many cases, education about the negative impact bullying has, as well as the remorse the bully should naturally feel, will provide punishment enough. But the argument you have proposed is not one that is limited to such cases. If the bullying is instigated as a purposeful method to getting someone to kill themselves (I.e. Purposefully tipping them over the edge) then a murder charge should be available to a judge, where appropriate.

This outcome is based on the following assumptions:

1 Bullying is a harmful act that can often have a negative impact on a person's wellbeing
2 Bullying presents itself in many forms and can often be difficult to categorise
3 Bullying, in some of its many recognised forms, is already a crime punishable by the law (I.e. harassment, indecency, anti-social behaviour, domestic and/or sexual abuse - These are some of the many forms of bullying).
4 It is possible that someone may initiate bullying in order to push another person over the edge (e.g. Someone who is known to be emotionally vulnerable, depressed etc.). If the bully intends to make another person commit suicide, that is, they know that their actions will likely lead someone to do this and this is their intention, then this is morally and ethically equivalent to murder
5 The courts already have the mandate to try a person for murder, even if that person did not carry out the act themselves (see my comments in Round 1 re. assisted suicide)
6 Therefore, the bully should be tried for murder
Debate Round No. 2
jman31697

Con

I agree that bullying has negative affects for people alike. Most of the laws regarding bullying of any kind is state regulated and mostly applies to educational facilities. This shows that bullying mainly takes place in elementary, middle, and high schools. During this time of age a child's or teenagers brain is not fully developed therefore the cerebellum (which pertains to the thought of emotions) is not fully developed either.

In your argument you suggest that intentionally hurting someone is equivalent to murder, but how are we suppose to judge those that haven't even fully developed a sense of moral?

My third point rest on the fact of the victim itself. The victim of bullying has the chance to change the course of actions from the very beginning before it even reaches a point of harm. From the begging of elementary to high school we have had many assemblies pertaining to how others and yourself can stop someone from bullying. Why would state's spend so much money trying to get this message across if it just meant to put blame on the bully? To say that bullies have no sense of moral would also say that the victims friends or piers would have no self moral either. They could have prevented the incident form ever happening. So in turn isn't everyone a bully? If no one has the ethical values to stop the bullies, then everyone might as well be a bully also.
ColinMatthews

Pro

I'm afraid I don't agree with the validity of some of your arguments from round 3. In paragraph 1, you seem to be suggesting that bullying is only an issue during school years. This argument is easily refuted as bullying can and does occur at any time in a person's life.

In paragraph two, you seem to suggest that I have stated that hurting someone is equivalent to murder. I have not said this at any point in my arguments: what I have said is that if a person intentionally drives another person to suicide then this has the same repercussions and moral and social judgement as someone who has attempted and committed murder.

I don't understand your argument in paragraph three at all. Are you suggesting that a bully has no grounds to be blamed for any harm that comes to the victim, because the victim should seek help in the first instance? And if they don't, anything that happens to them is their fault? If you apply this same logic to most other crimes then this is extremely fallible. For example: If a person doesn't report a potential stalker in the first instance they notice them, is the victim then to be blamed rather than the stalker if the stalker then attacks them? Or, if a threat of intimidation or violence is not reported in the first instance is the victim then to be blamed if this leads to an actual act of violence? Such a view apportions far too much blame on the victim rather than the perpetrator.
Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Khaos_Mage 2 years ago
Khaos_Mage
If the instigator wants to challenge me, I'll accept a similar debate.
Posted by Taylur 2 years ago
Taylur
But of course, there are different degrees of bullying -- some worse than others. If the victim commits suicide, this would obviously be taken into account and would be more likely to place the bully in a longer sentence.
Posted by Taylur 2 years ago
Taylur
I don't agree with manslaughter charges; why should a violent stabbing be judged any worse if the victim dies? The crime is always the same and the penalty should not waver.

So I would be against this, but I think bullies should be prosecuted for bullying.
Posted by jman31697 2 years ago
jman31697
Both please
Posted by Jonbonbon 2 years ago
Jonbonbon
Not sure if I should troll or just ignore.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Buckethead31594 2 years ago
Buckethead31594
jman31697ColinMatthewsTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro had the better arguments in regards to legal definitions. Round 2 summarizes this completely.
Vote Placed by Wylted 2 years ago
Wylted
jman31697ColinMatthewsTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro showed that in at least some cases prosecuting bullies for the deaths of those they bully should be permitted. Is urge con to avoid sweeping generalizations in future debates. Usually an exception to the rule can be found.
Vote Placed by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
jman31697ColinMatthewsTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro simply has the stronger argument here, and he's managed to sway me at least to the middle on this issue. Con really doesn't present a solid argument for why holding bullies accountable is harmful in all instances, or even in some instances. All I really see from him is that they don't always know what they're doing, but that's irrelevant to the argument being presented by Pro, which states that these sorts of sentences should only apply to bullies who know what they're doing. The reason I'm not swayed entirely by Pro has more to do with an argument that didn't come up, which is extricating a person's depression from the bully's responsibility, and determining specifically whether or not the bully was trying to cause that death. But those are my arguments, not Con's. Hence the vote.