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2008-01-14

Torture: A User-Centered Design Approach

I've long been an opponent of the legalization of assault weapons. Guns are tools built for only one purpose, killing, and assault rifles are built to do so that much more effectively.

A few years ago I was offered the chance to fire one, and being one who likes to know something about the things he opposes, I took it. The gun was an Army-issue M16—the kind carried by American soldiers in Iraq—modified to make it civilian legal.

That the trigger mechanism was changed from automatic to semi-automatic mattered little as I squeezed off several rounds toward a target area in a few seconds. I felt a rush and a thrill. And like one who peers over the edge of a high place and imagines jumping, I pictured how quick and simple it would be for me to turn toward my fellow shooters and suddenly end what had been an otherwise fun day for them.

Holding and firing that weapon scared the shit out of me and confirmed my opposition to civilian use of assault rifles, even if they are modified.

Therefore, before Congress, the Department of Justice, or any White House administration determines whether or not waterboarding constitutes torture, they should try the technique on each other. Not only would it inform their judgment, it would make future debates on Capitol Hill that much more fun.

2 comments:

Steve S. said...

But there is a major flaw in the idea of using waterboarding on a member of Congress. In theory, one uses this method on "detainees" in order to obtain useful information - the assumption being that they have useful information that they may be keeping secret. Do most members of Congress have any useful information that they could yield under interrogation? It seems unlikely.

librarian@play said...

But think of the ratings spike on C-SPAN!