From: STRACZYNSKI [Joe]
Subject: Yes, but of course the problem *there*...
Date: 1/21/1993 4:00:00 PM
: List :
Yes, but of course the problem *there* (making them work it off) is that
it begins to institutionalize slavery. How can you safeguard against
situations leading to indentured slavery...Person A is *falsely* accused of a
crime for the purpose of shipping him off to the work colony where he will
slave away for the Company indefinitely?
In a way, when you're dealing in this context -- far space -- the
question of "is murder humane?" is really less and less the operative
question. (By "murder" I mean the death penalty in the above.) You're living
in *very* small quarters, when you get down to it. It costs quite a lot in
time and money to get there. And to send someone away. How much time and
money do you allocate for extradition across, potentially, x-number of light
The best metaphor, I suppose, is a boat at sea. There are ten people in
the boat. A kills B. You don't really have the resources to rehabilitate
there. And barring that option, there's no way of knowing if A won't kill C
in his sleep...or that D, B's friend, won't kill A at the first opportunity.
Meanwhile, you've got to put your attention to getting this ship to port
without totally disrupting operations and sinking before you reach port.
On Earth, if someone commits a crime, you send them to prison upstate,
out of sight, out of mind. But where do/can you send them in such closed
quarters? I raise this mainly because what I've always tried to do with B5 is
to Ask The Next Question. Very often the answers to those questions aren't
easy, or comfortable...but they have to be asked, and answered, if your
universe is to make any sense or have any degree of consistency.
(And just in general, btw, everyone who comes to B5 operates under EA
laws, so Earth laws have jurisdiction under *most* circumstances. But there
are always exceptions. And those would be a *real* test.)
As to the idea that the death penalty costs more than life...yes, that's
true as far as it goes on Earth...but a station wouldn't have time or money or
resources for those kind of endless appeals. Justice wold (would) have to be
fairly swift, or the entire operation would come to a screeching halt. So
what happens to civil rights? To the question of cruel and unusual
punishment? Where does one draw the line?
They're very hard questions. And the thing is...there IS no right
On to other things (meanwhile, feel free to keep this discussion
going...there are a lot of sides to this argument, and it's good to hear all
Yes, there are starmaps around, some are visible in Sinclair's briefing
room, although they got kinda washed out to a light blue and you really can't
see them well. We'll fix this later.
There are weapons, and we'll see them eventually. Can the station move?
Yes, but only marginally, as required to maintain its L5 position. As for
the engine room...since this isn't a starship, the engine room is not exactly
the same. There's not much of an engine per se; it was built IN one place to
STAY in one place. There are maintainance areas and operational sections, the
blue-collar stuff, though, and that we will be seeing.
Had something great happen today. Got a call from a friend, and there
was a guy in town from Magazine X (I can't give the title), which covers
computers, and SF, and other related areas. He wanted to see B5 and do a
quick interview/review. Now, this guy is very skeptical and not a little
cynical, even by his own admission. I said okay, and he came to the house
where I cranked up the system and showed him the finished pilot.
This is the first time a civilian has seen the *completed film*, sound,
music, pic all. And a reviewer, no less. His responce, (response), when the
pilot was over? He pronounced it the best SF pilot ever made, the "most
significant SF event" he had ever seen. He was just croggled by it.
I am a happy man. It's a start.