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Wordsmith
elaine_hf
Posts: 389
Registered: ‎01-05-2010

Re: Three Seconds: The Letter of the Law

 


OKC_NookJA wrote:

 


Peppermill wrote:

 

Unfortunately, it is not always easy to agree on what are atrocities, let alone what to do about them.  I found the section "From the Authors" very powerful in describing why a drug culture within prisons and whether society is willing to pay the costs of changing that culture.

 


 

Various societies have various views. But societies can mean people who are like "me". So, for instance, there are several societies in the United States as well as an American society.

 

Of course this is a big question determing what are atrocities and what to do about them. For instance, in the 1990's the U.S. government wouldn't classify the killing of millions in Rwanda as "genocide" because that would mean it had to act.

 

Dropping nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Was that saving lives or atrocities? Seems the answer to that may depend on what perspective you are coming from.

 

Sorry to get too deep into this. Seems to me sometimes there is no absolute black and white, but serveral shades of gray. But, sometimes shouldn't an issue be black and white?

 

Back to the book :smileyhappy: In the facts you mentioned in the back. We have prisons that keep people in but not drugs out. It is sad, if it as the book says, drugs are allowed to control the prison population.Especially when many of the inmates are in prison for possesing drugs.


I'm with Peppermill on this one - the section, "From the Authors", at the end - without introducing any spoilers, introduces some interesting points of view that I hadn't completely considered. Not to beat this one to death, so to speak, but the older I get, the more I'm convinced that "black" and "white" are almost non-existent; I don't think that any one person or group ever has the complete, omniscient overview that allows an absolute judgment or perspective. What we see, from the outside, as a wrong, can look absolutely correct on the inside. I'm not trying to justify genocide (which I am absolutely against) - i.e. Nazi and Darfur atrocities - but I'm saying that we can never really know precisely how a situation looks from all angles, so we end up with an almost infinite variety of shades of grey.

 

‎"Peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God." -Bokonon
Scribe
DSaff
Posts: 2,048
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Three Seconds: The Letter of the Law

The letter of the law doesn't seem to exits here. That line has been trampled over and over again. Good and bad are simply words in this book. I don't see many "good" guys at all - Ewert and the officer in the basement, maybe Wilson. All the others have something they are trying to hide or are willing to use someone to break the law in the name of stopping something from happening. It continues to be "the end justifies the means."People are taking pay-off's, setting up others to do more jail time, and lying is everywhere. I think we all know that stuff like this happens, but that doesn't make it right.  It also doesn't see that many characters here wrestle with doing something morally and ethically wrong either. Piet is now feeling some of the consequences of his choices - alienation and separation from his family, loneliness, and fear. The others????

DonnaS =) " Reading is a means of thinking with another person's mind; it forces you to stretch your own." Charles Scribner
"A book is like a garden carried in the pocket." Chinese Proverb
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Wordsmith
Deltadawn
Posts: 311
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Three Seconds: The Letter of the Law

[ Edited ]

This post has information through the end of PART III - so spoiler if you haven't finished that section!

 

Well, in the "real" world the police are "supposed" to be good and on the right side of the law. But the lines are blurred - and in some cases they take bad actions because of selfish and cowardly motivations. In this novel, most of the police and government officials (excluding, for the most part, Wilson, Grens, the prison warden, & Hermansson) are definitely behaving in a corrupt and criminal manner.

 

They justified their own actions by passing on the responsibility for the unfolding events to the actions of others - i.e. - they did not authorize a murder - they just provided access for the lawyer to visit a prisoner in the jail. They only provided that lawyer with certain information. It is that lawyer's choice to release the information.  It was the prisoners' choice to go after Piet. It was Piet who killed (2?) people and then took 2 hostages. That is how they chose to portray these events to themselves and each other - so that they could live with themselves and justify their actions.

 

They found loopholes in the law by accessing a military sniper, although it is against the law to use military personnel for police work - by "firing" the military person from his position, "hiring" him temporarily to work for the police, and then "firing" him again and permitting him to be "rehired" after he completed his mission - all within 6 hours' time.


They knowingly provided false information and rationalized that they couldn't be responsible for the actions that others took - even though those actions were taken as a direct result of everything they had directly set into motion.

 

Ewert, the main warden of the prison, & the military shooter are the only ones who seem to struggle with their consciences in this section. Erik Wilson is no where to be found!!!!!  I believe that when he resurfaces he will definitely struggle with his conscience for his part in this travesty.

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Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
Registered: ‎04-04-2007
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Re: Three Seconds: The Letter of the Law

 


DSaff wrote:

The letter of the law doesn't seem to exits here. That line has been trampled over and over again. Good and bad are simply words in this book. I don't see many "good" guys at all - Ewert and the officer in the basement, maybe Wilson. All the others have something they are trying to hide or are willing to use someone to break the law in the name of stopping something from happening. It continues to be "the end justifies the means. "People are taking pay-off's, setting up others to do more jail time, and lying is everywhere. I think we all know that stuff like this happens, but that doesn't make it rightIt also doesn't see that many characters here wrestle with doing something morally and ethically wrong either. Piet is now feeling some of the consequences of his choices - alienation and separation from his family, loneliness, and fear. The others????


 

So, is Ewert only "good"?  Does he have any characteristics of Einarsson? ("...[Einarsson] had suddenly sat down one morning and explained he couldn't face all the crap anymore, let alone investigate it." p. 70) ("He [Grens] had worked for thirty-five years in the city police force and had seen crime rise steadily, get worse In other words, organized crimeNot surprising that he sometimes chose to live in the past...every day the police risked their lives and sanity and every day they lost a little more control." p.50Could Grens have done a job like Wilson's or should societies not have roles like Wilson'sWhat about the sulky attitude of Ewert towards Lars AgestamOr calling Svens in the middle of the night, not always with urgent provocationOr insuring that the sniper had the "right" type of ammunition when he arrived?   (Page 440 in Part 4 is brilliant writing in exploring the "good side" of some strong emotions often viewed as "negative"   -- hate and rage.)

 

Incidentally, the sniper having the type of ammunition that would blow the target to smithereens is another place where the authors seem to have "rigged" the story to support the plot.  After all, the other type was already on a helicopter to the site.  Neat writing, superb story telling, and real life does sometimes fall that way.

 

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
Wordsmith
literature
Posts: 499
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Three Seconds: The Letter of the Law


Peppermill wrote:

 


dhaupt wrote (excerpt):

And even though I know that things like this go on in our own high offices of government I'd rather turn a blind eye to it, but when I see what the collateral damage costs in the human factor it makes me sick.... 


 

Realistically, these things belong not just to "high offices of government", but sometimes to the very nature of being human.  What DO/must we ignore?  Didn't Wilson make the task (path) and justification of the higher ups easier when he doctored Piet's file, yet wasn't that necessary for Piet to do his job within the prison?  Wasn't Grens a bit naive about the signals he was getting on his investigation, but couldn't he have been told enough to keep some things on hold for awhile?  Grens felt justified in his decision because of the warden hostage, not the prisoner hostage.  If he had known what Piet's role really was, we are led to believe his decision might have been (would have been?) different.

 

This social criticism seems a particular power of this novel -- it probes both institutions and  humanity itself.


I agree here that Grens felt justified in his decision to kill Piet but we still don't know what came first, the explosion or the sniper bullet.  If it can be proven that it was the explosion, then Gren doesn't have to bear the guilt.  I still believe that Piet escaped.  He's too clever a person to have given up that easily.  I posted earlier that when the sniper shot was at the two second count, he disappeared someone in the next split second.  Wishful thinking.

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MomOf2Turds
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Re: Three Seconds: The Letter of the Law

 

How are the authors playing with our notions of "good" and "bad" characters in a police thriller? How are the police and prison officials involved adhering to the "letter of the law" and how does this relate to the spirit of justice?
They are painting the "good" guys, the cops and the key leaders and players in the justice system, as the bad guys.  On the other hand, the "bad" guys, Piet as an ex-con continuing to be involved in criminal activities, as "good" guys.  I do believe, however, that some of the "good" guys, such as Grens and his team, and Erik Wilson (even though he wasn't anywhere in this part) are good guys.  The authors are doing a great job in giving us an inside look, so to speak, into the way things are in a lot of places around the world.  The police, the higher ups in the police anyway, are finding ways and loopholes so that they aren't technically breaking the law but they get the results that they want anyway.  And it goes totally against what I believe justice to be.
 
What  "adjustments" do characters make in order to assure the actions taken are perfectly legal?
The firing of the military sniper so that he could be employed by the police force for exactly six hours before being rehired into the military is a way that they make sure that they are perfectly within the letters of the law which states that "members of the Armed Forces cannot be used in situations where there is a risk that they may be required to use force or violence against a private individual." (pg. 330)  
 
Can you describe how individual characters wrestle with the moral (and official) choices they are making in these chapters? Which characters have difficult struggles with conscience?
Fredrik Göransson begins to realize that what he has done, although legal according to the law, is wrong and he decides that he wants no further involvement in it.  (pg. 328) " 'I want no part in this.' "  He begins feeling guilty and realizes that they are committing murder, even though they aren't the ones pulling the trigger.  
Sterner also doesn't want to shoot Hoffman from the church tower ( pg. 336, " 'I can't do this.' ") because his ammo will not wound him, it will kill him (pg. 340, " 'He'll die.' ").  But he is a soldier, well technically a member of the police force at this point, and follows his orders and eventually pulls the trigger, no matter what he feelings about doing it are.
How does each deciding official treat the idea of being responsible for what happens before and during this hostage crisis?
The deciding official puts all of the blame onto everyone else as opposed to owning up to his part in it, so that he can sleep at night and not have to live with the guilt of what he has done.  

 

“A home without books is a body without soul.” ~ Marcus Tullius Cicero
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MomOf2Turds
Posts: 46
Registered: ‎03-13-2010

Re: Three Seconds: The Letter of the Law

 


mystery-woman wrote:

 

Piet struggles with doing what the police have, basically blackmailed, him into doing.  He struggles with the dilemma of doing what he can to return to a normal life.  He has no problem justifying the death of the runner, but cannot harm the prison guard who has been nice to him.  A double standard?  No, I don't think so.

 


I don't think that he spares the prison guard because he was "nice to him."  I think that he spared his life because the guard played no part in the events leading up to the hostage taking, or what would happen after that, and was therefore deemed an innocent in all of it.  And I don't think that Piet could have lived with himself if he knew that he was the reason a good man was killed.  

 

“A home without books is a body without soul.” ~ Marcus Tullius Cicero
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dhaupt
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Re: Three Seconds: The Letter of the Law

 


literature wrote:

Peppermill wrote:

 


dhaupt wrote (excerpt):

And even though I know that things like this go on in our own high offices of government I'd rather turn a blind eye to it, but when I see what the collateral damage costs in the human factor it makes me sick.... 


 

Realistically, these things belong not just to "high offices of government", but sometimes to the very nature of being human.  What DO/must we ignore?  Didn't Wilson make the task (path) and justification of the higher ups easier when he doctored Piet's file, yet wasn't that necessary for Piet to do his job within the prison?  Wasn't Grens a bit naive about the signals he was getting on his investigation, but couldn't he have been told enough to keep some things on hold for awhile?  Grens felt justified in his decision because of the warden hostage, not the prisoner hostage.  If he had known what Piet's role really was, we are led to believe his decision might have been (would have been?) different.

 

This social criticism seems a particular power of this novel -- it probes both institutions and  humanity itself.


I agree here that Grens felt justified in his decision to kill Piet but we still don't know what came first, the explosion or the sniper bullet.  If it can be proven that it was the explosion, then Gren doesn't have to bear the guilt.  I still believe that Piet escaped.  He's too clever a person to have given up that easily.  I posted earlier that when the sniper shot was at the two second count, he disappeared someone in the next split second.  Wishful thinking.


 

In my head I see the sniper bullet being the cause of the explosion, and I too think Piet escapes

 

Wordsmith
elaine_hf
Posts: 389
Registered: ‎01-05-2010
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Re: Three Seconds: The Letter of the Law

 


Peppermill wrote:

 



So, is Ewert only "good"?  Does he have any characteristics of Einarsson? ("...[Einarsson] had suddenly sat down one morning and explained he couldn't face all the crap anymore, let alone investigate it." p. 70) ("He [Grens] had worked for thirty-five years in the city police force and had seen crime rise steadily, get worse In other words, organized crimeNot surprising that he sometimes chose to live in the past...every day the police risked their lives and sanity and every day they lost a little more control." p.50Could Grens have done a job like Wilson's or should societies not have roles like Wilson'sWhat about the sulky attitude of Ewert towards Lars AgestamOr calling Svens in the middle of the night, not always with urgent provocationOr insuring that the sniper had the "right" type of ammunition when he arrived?   (Page 440 in Part 4 is brilliant writing in exploring the "good side" of some strong emotions often viewed as "negative"   -- hate and rage.)

 

Incidentally, the sniper having the type of ammunition that would blow the target to smithereens is another place where the authors seem to have "rigged" the story to support the plot.  After all, the other type was already on a helicopter to the site.  Neat writing, superb story telling, and real life does sometimes fall that way.

 


No, if Ewert was only "good" he wouldn't have decided that he was only helping because a prison warden's life was at stake. Instead, his thoughts were that if it was 'only' a prisoner, he might not bother with the rescue/sniper attempt. Ewert is only human - he may be more good than bad, albeit inconsiderate at times, but still only human.

 

‎"Peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God." -Bokonon
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MomOf2Turds
Posts: 46
Registered: ‎03-13-2010
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Re: Three Seconds: The Letter of the Law

 


dhaupt wrote:

 

In my head I see the sniper bullet being the cause of the explosion, and I too think Piet escapes

 


 

On page 336 it says, "...the ammunition that I have with me is fire and explosive ammo..." which leads me to believe that the bullet he shot at Piet is what caused the explosion, as well.  

 

As for Piet escaping, I can only hope that he did, although I don't hold out much.  But then again, if he knew that he was going to be killed if it came down to the sniper and such being called in, why would he hide his cell phone, his only link to Erik Wilson, in the cemetery if he figured that he wouldn't make it out alive?  Hmm.  Now you really have me thinking...

“A home without books is a body without soul.” ~ Marcus Tullius Cicero
Correspondent
T-Mo
Posts: 51
Registered: ‎08-31-2009

Re: Three Seconds: The Letter of the Law

[ Edited ]

I don't think Piet had any intention of hurting the prison guard at all. However, he had to have some sort of leverage over the police task force, etc. because he knew that using another prisoner wouldn't provide him the same sort of advantages as using one of their own. Piet is a very perceptive and smart man, which is evidenced in all the preparations he made prior to his incarceration. Yes, Piet did act inhumanely toward the security guard- kicking him, etc. But perhaps that was all part of his tough guy persona. If he acted humanely they wouldn't be afraid of him, and they wouldn't take his threats seriously. 

 

When Grens is pondering the situation he thinks: "If the two people who had been taken hostage were both fellow prisoners, he wouldn't have been so motivated, he wouldn't have felt the same driving edge. ...he felt nothing for the prisoner who in theory could be in cahoots with the hostage taker. ... The warden on the other hand, who wore a uniform and worked there..." (pg. 323). 

 

I'm inclined to think that Piet made his choices based on the knowledge he gained by working as in infiltrator. He would have had an understanding of how the police viewed criminals. And after the brutality he experienced upon his arrest, he would know first hand that police officers tend to hold a grudge when any harm is caused to their fellow law enforcement officials, therefore he knew he'd have more leverage and time with the warden as one of his hostages. He obviously thought it out and planned who to take as hostage- he put two wardens in locked cells, and specifically chose Jacobson, after he had been so kind and sympathetic toward Piet.

 

 


MomOf2Turds wrote:

 


mystery-woman wrote:

 

Piet struggles with doing what the police have, basically blackmailed, him into doing.  He struggles with the dilemma of doing what he can to return to a normal life.  He has no problem justifying the death of the runner, but cannot harm the prison guard who has been nice to him.  A double standard?  No, I don't think so.

 


I don't think that he spares the prison guard because he was "nice to him."  I think that he spared his life because the guard played no part in the events leading up to the hostage taking, or what would happen after that, and was therefore deemed an innocent in all of it.  And I don't think that Piet could have lived with himself if he knew that he was the reason a good man was killed.  

 


 

Wordsmith
elaine_hf
Posts: 389
Registered: ‎01-05-2010
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Re: Three Seconds: The Letter of the Law

 


MomOf2Turds wrote:

 


dhaupt wrote:

 

In my head I see the sniper bullet being the cause of the explosion, and I too think Piet escapes

 


 

On page 336 it says, "...the ammunition that I have with me is fire and explosive ammo..." which leads me to believe that the bullet he shot at Piet is what caused the explosion, as well.  

 

As for Piet escaping, I can only hope that he did, although I don't hold out much.  But then again, if he knew that he was going to be killed if it came down to the sniper and such being called in, why would he hide his cell phone, his only link to Erik Wilson, in the cemetery if he figured that he wouldn't make it out alive?  Hmm.  Now you really have me thinking...


 

(Bolding is added)

 

Don't forget the little packets of nitroglycerin taped to Piet's hostage's body....

‎"Peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God." -Bokonon
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MSaff
Posts: 272
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Re: Three Seconds: The Letter of the Law

Hello Everyone,

 

  In my personal opinion, the characters for the most part have had a very thin line between good and bad.  This line is so thin that it may even be totally be obscured as a result of each of their judgments.  Piet, in this section is extremely afraid for his life even to count the first 22 minutes of each day.  He feels that if he is OK after the first 22 minutes that the cells are opened, he is going to make it through another day. 

  As far as the prison guards and the police that are called to the prison, when Piet kills one and takes hostages, they are going to act according to the law.  They are unaware of why Piet was there in the first place, and as far as they know, he (Piet), he is a danger to everyone. 

 

  Grens is a police officers' police officer.  He is dedicated to solving a crime,  whether he knows what is going on with Piet and the others or not, I have decided, but I like Grens.  He appears to be a dedicated Law Enforcement Official, even if he seems a little eccentric.  After all he lost his wife, and he is still dealing with the grieving process. 

 

 

 


Rachel-K wrote:
How are the authors playing with our notions of "good" and "bad" characters in a police thriller? How are the police and prison officials involved adhering to the "letter of the law" and how does this relate to the spirit of justice?
 
Can you describe how individual characters wrestle with the moral (and official) choices they are making in these chapters? Which characters have difficult struggles with conscience?
 
 
 

 

Mike
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind." Dr. Seuss
http://travelswithcarsandbooks.blogspot.com/
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tjewell
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Re: Three Seconds: The Letter of the Law

I was surprised at how well Piet/Paula knew what his rights were while he was prison - although I don't know why as he had been in prison previously.  His ability to foresee almost everything that would happen to him was amazing.  Of course, he did have some intense feeling as everything was unfolding.  Piet was able to pull himself together and continue with the game plan as he had planned.  I find that he continues to be an amazing individual. 

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lisapt
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Re: Three Seconds: The Letter of the Law

I abhor how the officials are attempting to hold to the letter of the laws while firmly spitting on the spirit of it. I so hope they get caught in there game of shifting responsibility. If I, as an engineer, build a bridge that I know will fall down if a 2 ton truck drives over it, who is at fault when that happens? Me, or the driver of the truck? Now, I'm an electrical, not civil engineer, but most of the people I know feel a certain amount of responsibility for what happens on their "watch." I also feel sorry for the prison official who had to choose between doing his job and obeying orders and doing what was right -- i think we all want to do what is right in all cases, but the reality is much harder in practice.
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Lis49
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Re: Three Seconds: The Letter of the Law

How are the authors playing with our notions of "good" and "bad" characters in a police thriller? How are the police and prison officials involved adhering to the "letter of the law" and how does this relate to the spirit of justice?
The authors want to show that people have both a good and bad side--Piet the "criminal" is a loving father and husband, Oscarsson struggles with following orders when he knows they are wrong,  etc.
 
What  "adjustments" do characters make in order to assure the actions taken are perfectly legal?
Goransson and the others gave Piet criminal immunity, they changed police reports, altered evidence, gave Piet special duties in the prison, told the warden to place him is a particular place in the prison, changed Piet's criminal records, refused to give information to Grens, told the warden to lie to Grens, told the warden to use dogs to find planted drugs, tampered with the national court administration database and agreed to provide Piet with a new identity.
 
Can you describe how individual characters wrestle with the moral (and official) choices they are making in these chapters? Which characters have difficult struggles with conscience?
 
I believe that Piet, Oscarsson and Grens struggled with conscience the most.
How does each deciding official treat the idea of being responsible for what happens before and during this hostage crisis?
 
     Oscarsson let a lawyer pass information to another prisoner, he lied to Grens about Piet being in the hospital, he ordered taking Piet back to the unit when he was threatened and asked no questions after receiving orders from Pal.  He followed orders but was conflicted about it.  He confessed when caught in a lie by Hermannson. 
     Jacobson did not go into his office, lock the door and raise the alarm.   
     Edvardson and others worked through accepted procedures.  Grens, the proper detective, was brought in to make decisions.  They decided to use a sniper.  In order to do that, they had to take him out of the army, and then make him a policeman, and later put him back into the army. 
     Goransson was willing for Grens to make the decision so that he could be blamed. Goransson made sure that Piet was outed. Goransson told Oscarsson not to open the gate when Piet asked. The state secretary provided the solution to using a sniper.
     Ulrika changed the national database and said she did it on orders by Wilson.  She didn't seem to care that she broke the law. 
    Grens knew he would be tormented by the decision to kill Piet.  The rest were just worried about being caught.
Lis49
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wendyroba
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Re: Three Seconds: The Letter of the Law

How are the authors playing with our notions of "good" and "bad" characters in a police thriller? How are the police and prison officials involved adhering to the "letter of the law" and how does this relate to the spirit of justice?
Most police thrillers make the cops the heros...in this book we have two "good" cops who are Grens and Wilson; the rest are functioning outside the law. The biggest hero is also a criminal: Hoffman. So the idea of good vs. bad is turned on its head a bit. The prison officials are following orders, but it is not in the spirit of justice.
 

 

Can you describe how individual characters wrestle with the moral (and official) choices they are making in these chapters? Which characters have difficult struggles with conscience?
I felt the most for the prison warden who knew what he was doing was wrong, but he felt he HAD to do it in order to keep his job. Also Goronsson struggles with his conscience and in the end tries to set things right. The people at the very top seemed to struggle the least with any moral issues.
 
CAG
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CAG
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Re: Three Seconds: The Letter of the Law

 


Rachel-K wrote:
How are the authors playing with our notions of "good" and "bad" characters in a police thriller? How are the police and prison officials involved adhering to the "letter of the law" and how does this relate to the spirit of justice?
I think they are showing us a government (and law enforcement agency) mainly in a negative light with just a few honest people in power or control. This book is social criticism at its best.
 
What  "adjustments" do characters make in order to assure the actions taken are perfectly legal?
Some just adjust the law or destroy documents so they can cover themselves and their actions.
 
Can you describe how individual characters wrestle with the moral (and official) choices they are making in these chapters? Which characters have difficult struggles with conscience?
The warden does struggle with the lie he told Grens and with moving Piet. Gren has difficulty with the idea to kill Hoffman. I don't see others as really wrestling with their decisions.
 
How does each deciding official treat the idea of being responsible for what happens before and during this hostage crisis?
They pass the buck. They manipulate the system and use it to their advantage so they are not held responsible for what happens.
 
 

 

CAG
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JoanieGranola
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Re: Three Seconds: The Letter of the Law


Rachel-K wrote:
How are the authors playing with our notions of "good" and "bad" characters in a police thriller? How are the police and prison officials involved adhering to the "letter of the law" and how does this relate to the spirit of justice?
 
What  "adjustments" do characters make in order to assure the actions taken are perfectly legal?
 
Can you describe how individual characters wrestle with the moral (and official) choices they are making in these chapters? Which characters have difficult struggles with conscience?
 
How does each deciding official treat the idea of being responsible for what happens before and during this hostage crisis?
 
 

These are some interesting questions. Quite honestly, it appears to me that no one is adhering to the letter of the law. Sure, Grens is following procedure, but his superiors are marching to the beat of their own drum.

 

Piet was hung out to dry, even when promised that he would be taken care of. The people who promised him safety were the same people that signed his death warrant. That's a neon sign stating "There is no justice."

 

I found it interesting that there were a few characters that struggled with their own morals throughout the novel - given that each had made a choice in each action they took.

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JaneM
Posts: 152
Registered: ‎02-01-2008
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Re: Three Seconds: The Letter of the Law


JoanieGranola wrote:

Rachel-K wrote:
How are the authors playing with our notions of "good" and "bad" characters in a police thriller? How are the police and prison officials involved adhering to the "letter of the law" and how does this relate to the spirit of justice?
 
What  "adjustments" do characters make in order to assure the actions taken are perfectly legal?
 
Can you describe how individual characters wrestle with the moral (and official) choices they are making in these chapters? Which characters have difficult struggles with conscience?
 
How does each deciding official treat the idea of being responsible for what happens before and during this hostage crisis?
 
 

These are some interesting questions. Quite honestly, it appears to me that no one is adhering to the letter of the law. Sure, Grens is following procedure, but his superiors are marching to the beat of their own drum.

 

Piet was hung out to dry, even when promised that he would be taken care of. The people who promised him safety were the same people that signed his death warrant. That's a neon sign stating "There is no justice."

 

I found it interesting that there were a few characters that struggled with their own morals throughout the novel - given that each had made a choice in each action they took.


I agree with the struggle.  Obviously Grens struggled mightily with the decision to kill, which is unusual for a policeman, and Piet followed his own moral code - kill only those who are already guilty, but save the innocent bystanders.

Jane M.