Deontological ethics and the gun problem

First, some background on recent studies in social science: The study by Jared Piazza of the University of Pennsylvania and Paulo Sousa of Queen’s University Belfast, which included a total of 688 participants, found religious individuals and political conservatives consistently invoked deontological ethics. In other words, they judged the morality of actions based on a universal rule such as, “You should not kill.” Political liberals, on the other hand, consistently invoked consequentialist ethics, meaning they judged the morality of actions based on their positive or negative outcomes.

Compare and contrast

The original story in New Scientist: Goth subculture may protect vulnerable children About half of teenage goths have deliberately harmed themselves or attempted suicide, a new study suggests. But joining the modern subculture – which grew out of the 1980s gothic rock scene – may actually protect vulnerable children, researchers say. The respun story on BBC News: Goths ‘more likely to self-harm’ Teenage Goths are more likely to self-harm than those in other social groups, a study has found.

Kenneth Baxter of Enron

Remember that Enron exec who said he was going to cooperate with the authorities, who then suddenly committed suicide? Well, it seems that according to the autopsy, he shot himself in the temple—using shotgun ammo, with two feet between his head and the muzzle of the gun.

A short burst of misanthropy

You know, when a LiveJournal user attempted suicide live on webcam, I was fairly sure LJ would get lots of (unwelcome) publicity from the story. I expected to see it on WIRED news, and cited as an example of the evil (or value) of the Internet in paper publications of all kinds. But no. It seems that merely committing suicide live on webcam isn’t enough to engage the attention of a jaded public these days.