Chatted with Ed until 1am last night, covering a variety of subjects, including this one and one which will apear shortly in a journal entry of its own. And those of you who are going to be offended by the following discussion will by now hopefully have now passed on to a different entry.
We ended up talking about the fact that many people consider rape to be worse than murder (Ed being one of those people), Ed's reasoning being that murder (generally) consists of a few moments of suffering for the person being murdered, whereas rape leaves scars that can last a lifetime.
I disagreed, saying that "Rape is worse than murder" indicated that it was better to be murdered than raped, effectively saying to rape victims "It would be better for you if you were dead." and denigrating those women who do get over rape and have happy lives. Also, being a materialistic type, I view death as the end, so by killing someone you've just taken away from them whatever future they had, generally a far worse thing to do than making their life worse.
The difference seemed to boil down to whether you looked at the future of the victim and took into account just the bad effects of the crime or the totality of their lives.
The first account for a short period of pain for a murder victim, longer pain for a rape victim in addition to depression and trauma lasting (possibly) for many years. The second means comparing a short period of pain _and then nothing else_ with the possibility of many years of life, large amounts of which may be happy, leading to a life which is, on balance, a happy one.
There are a few things that I'd rather be dead than endure (constant crippling pain, brain diseases that leave me unable to function in any meaningful sense), but by and large I'd rather be able to try and make my way somewhat happily in life, even if that means living through some terrible things along the way.