Sheet C (Fairness and Equity)

prepared by:

Joseph Malkevitch
Department of Mathematics and Computing
York College (CUNY)
Jamaica, New York 11451

web page:

1. Fairness questions often engender both emotional and intellectual reactions.

Here are some examples of situations which entail fairness questions (at least for some people). Think about both the emotional aspects and the intellectual aspects of the situations involved from a fairness point of view.

a. Many people are strongly opposed to allowing women to have abortions. Opposition to abortions has a wide spectrum. Some people feel abortions are never justified. Other think they are justified in the case of incest, rape, or when the pregnancy endangers the health of the mother.

b. Theodore J. Kaczynski, known as the "Unabomer" is currently incarcerated in a federal prison with a life sentence for an 18 year campaign of bombing attacks that killed and maimed many people. He was eventually caught because his brother David Kaczynski recognized the "style" of his brother's writings in materials that were published in the public press. When he was caught, the US Government seized Kacznyski's papers, amounting to approximately 40,000 pages of materials from his cabin in Montana. The Government and groups of victims and relatives of victims are proposing that these papers be sold and the money obtained be used to assist the victims of his crimes and their relatives. Kaczynski, who has by now served 9 years in prison is claiming in a federal court that the sale of these materials, especially because some of the materials will be sold in altered form, would violate his First Amendment rights.

c. Some people are strong supporters of the death penalty, especially for crimes such as murder and rape. Others point to the fact that people have been sent to jail but later exonerated because it has been shown that they did not commit the crimes of which they were accused.