Re: Fwd: The Urge to Punish Cheats: Not Just Human, but Selfless

From: Keith Henson (
Date: Sun Feb 10 2002 - 17:23:38 GMT

  • Next message: Keith Henson: "Memes Meta-Memes and Politics 3 of 3 (1988, updates 2002)"

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    Date: Sun, 10 Feb 2002 12:23:38 -0500
    From: Keith Henson <>
    Subject: Re: Fwd: The Urge to Punish Cheats: Not Just Human, but Selfless 
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    Since I mentioned this, here is a taste. Keith


    [Editorial comment--It won't be long till people are living and
    working in space, but existing space law makes short shrift of human

    by H. Keith Henson and Arel Lucas

            With tears in his eyes, the commander of the US moon base spoke
    to the woman begging for asylum.

            "Sonya, my personal sympathies are with you. But I have my
    authorities above me. I have to do what is required. You will have
    to return to your base."

            "Please!" pleaded Sonya. "They will kill me. I will not go

            The commander reluctantly left his office and admitted the
    Russians. Dr. Gale Roberts, one of the civilian scientists at the
    base, later recounted the incident to the press.

            "We could here the woman's cries for help. She was on her
    knees praying and crying, 'Oh God help me.' The Russians came in.
    Sometimes I couldn't see her, but I could hear her screaming. Then
    she ran to the upper deck. Her face was all bloody.

            "She hid for a while, but three more Russians were let in.
    They found her, beat her unconscious. Then they tied her in a blanket
    and carried her out the airlock.

             "We're not even sure they put a suit on her in the airlock,"
    said Dr. Roberts. "Nobody was permitted to look.''

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

             Hypothetical overstatement? Not at all. Change "Sonya" to
    "Simas," and moon base to Coast Guard Cutter *Vigilant*, and you have
    an incident that occurred in November 1970. The US ship and a Russian
    ship had met off Gays Head near Boston to discuss inspection
    procedures called for by a recently signed fishing treaty. Simas
    Kirdurka, a Lithuanian radio operator, who in 21 years in the Russian
    merchant marine had never been allowed ashore at a foreign port, saw
    his chance and jumped to the Coast Guard ship.

             State Department bureaucrats who didn't want to take chances
    with "delicate negotiations," and Coast Guard officials on shore who
    disliked one of "their" ships being used for a defection, gave orders
    that Simas be returned to his ship. A considerable amount of violence
    on the US ship was required to accomplish the task. It was some time
    before it was known whether Simas was alive or dead. (See *Time* or
    *Newsweek,* Dec.14, 1970, if you want more details.)

    (rest on Google)

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