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Old March 23 2009, 04:14 PM   #1
Mr. Laser Beam
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Empok Nor: Is Garak guilty of murder?

Even though Garak's actions in this episode were the result of poisoning by a drug, isn't he still responsible for what he did? O'Brien did say that there would be a hearing about it afterwards but also that "the truth would come out". But is the truth relevant, in this case?

The natural reaction would, of course, be to say that Garak wasn't responsible, he shouldn't be guilty of murder, he'd gone crazy because it was the drug that made him do it. The classic insanity defense.

But consider this: Earlier in the episode, it was said that the drug amplified the existing Cardassian tendency for xenophobia and paranoia. Meaning, it doesn't create feelings and tendencies where none exist, it merely makes existing ones stronger. So doesn't this mean that Garak - being a Cardassian - already hates humans and secretly wants to kill them? And therefore, because the drug only brought an existing prejudice and violent tendency out into the open, shouldn't Garak be on the hook for Amaro's murder?

(I do agree with Garak on one thing, though...it would have been a BAD IDEA for Garak to try to apologize personally to Amaro's wife)
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Old March 23 2009, 04:56 PM   #2
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Re: Empok Nor: Is Garak guilty of murder?

He's responsible for it in a way, but... not entirely. It was sort of accidental- it pulled and pieces of his personality usually repressed.

Like- the child soldiers in Africa kill their families... but they're drugged, they don't know what they're doing really, and the drugs have warped their minds to an insane degree.

All the drugs did was make him paranoid... xenophobic. He had the talent from the OO that made it worse. It doesn't mean he secretly wanted to kill everyone, though he was always clear with Sisko that at a choice between his life and others- he'd pick himself.

I don't think he'd be punished today, let alone then. Today, he'd be released once his mental problems were solved.
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Old March 23 2009, 05:05 PM   #3
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Re: Empok Nor: Is Garak guilty of murder?

I wish we could have seen the hearing. That would have been some intense courtroom drama. Especially if the prosecution put Amaro's wife on the stands.
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Old March 23 2009, 05:16 PM   #4
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: Empok Nor: Is Garak guilty of murder?

Babaganoosh--I would say that all of us have tendencies that we would not care to admit to. Do we as humans not have xenophobic tendencies? I would suggest that as much as we don't want to admit it...we do. Such is part of our nature, but a person who is of right mind has the ability to recognize that those things are not desirable and to keep them in check--to decide they will not indulge that line of thought, they will not follow through on that course of action because they know that while there may be some instinct that encourages it, that it's wrong.

To me, my question would be, what is Garak's attitude towards those tendencies in himself when he is of right mind? Does he believe they are legitimate, or that he has a duty to resist them? Is he repulsed by the dark sides of himself?

That's always a tough thing to tell with Garak, but I, at least, thought he was very deeply ashamed and that his remorse demonstrated that those were not actions he believed in, in his right mind. Garak even seemed at peace with the knowledge that O'Brien had intended to kill him for what he was doing--that his actions deserved death. Maybe part of him worries that he shouldn't have been allowed to live, now that he's seen his dark side expressed to this extent...perhaps as atonement. And it seems like he was badly shaken...you don't see any signs of his usual "masks." I think that, too, is a sign of his real feelings--he can't even find it in himself to lie.

I can't believe I'm defending Garak. Normally I don't like him at all. And yet I don't think what we saw on that station was conduct that, if he'd been in his right mind, he would ever have approved of.
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Old March 23 2009, 05:27 PM   #5
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Re: Empok Nor: Is Garak guilty of murder?

^ Excellent points, Nerys.

I personally have always been very ashamed to admit that I, or anyone, could have a 'dark side'. I've spent my life trying to hide it, even eliminate it. But as Tuvok once said in a VOY episode (I'm paraphrasing here), "To deny one's dark side is to create an opportunity for it to escape".

Edit: I found the transcript of the scene I was thinking of. It's from "Cold Fire".

Kes: To be honest, I never want to see that part of myself again.
Tuvok: To which part are you referring?
Kes: To the part of me which got pleasure from destroying the plants in the airponics bay. To the part of me that was tempted to go with Tanis. I never realized I had such dark impulses.
Tuvok: Without the darkness, how would we recognize the light? Do not fear your negative thoughts. They are part of you. They are a part of every living being, even Vulcans.
Kes: You?
Tuvok: The Vulcan heart was forged out of barbarism and violence. We learned to control it, but it is still part of us. To pretend it does not exist is to create an opportunity for it to escape.
For Garak's part, he did seem ashamed for what he'd done after the drug was purged from his system. And even so, you can't punish people for having feelings (hate crime laws notwithstanding), only for their overt actions. If Garak would have never killed a human without the drug, then I guess that's enough.
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Old March 23 2009, 06:26 PM   #6
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Re: Empok Nor: Is Garak guilty of murder?

What spoke the most to me about Garak's true feelings (his words while still drugged notwithstanding) was the fact that he was at peace with the idea that O'Brien would have put him to death if at all possible. At least to me...in the entire series (even during "The Wire,") I never saw Garak so vulnerable, scared, and stripped down to the core of himself.
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Old March 23 2009, 09:13 PM   #7
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Re: Empok Nor: Is Garak guilty of murder?

Garak was under the influence of drugs which he did not choose to take, therefore no, he is not guilty of murder in the Empok Nor cases.

On the other hand, if he had chosen to take them, then he would be guilty of murder.

Although of course the ironic thing is, being guilty of murder is something that Garak certainly is in many other cases, most of which we don't even know about, but many we do (ie: Tain's enemies, the dude in ITPM, Weyoun etc. etc.).
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Old March 23 2009, 11:39 PM   #8
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Re: Empok Nor: Is Garak guilty of murder?

Garak was under the influence of a drug so the answer is no.
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Old March 24 2009, 02:05 AM   #9
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: Empok Nor: Is Garak guilty of murder?

Navaros wrote: View Post
Garak was under the influence of drugs which he did not choose to take, therefore no, he is not guilty of murder in the Empok Nor cases.

On the other hand, if he had chosen to take them, then he would be guilty of murder.
That's a VERY good point about the fact that Garak didn't choose to take that drug. He didn't know what it was when he stuck his fingers in it. He wasn't the equivalent of a drunk driver, who knowingly got drunk and would therefore be liable for reckless disregard for life if he killed someone.
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Old March 24 2009, 03:43 AM   #10
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Re: Empok Nor: Is Garak guilty of murder?

I think he was clearly given a pass by the authorities.

Here's an interesting thought: was he guilty of murder on previous occasions when working for the Obsidian Order?

I bet no one could prove it.
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Old March 24 2009, 05:48 AM   #11
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Re: Empok Nor: Is Garak guilty of murder?

Praetor wrote: View Post
I think he was clearly given a pass by the authorities.

Here's an interesting thought: was he guilty of murder on previous occasions when working for the Obsidian Order?

I bet no one could prove it.
In the Obsidian Order--most likely so. In the Pale Moonlight--almost certainly.

And this is why I feel weird defending Garak. Because this was the one time where he deserved acquittal.
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Old March 24 2009, 06:23 AM   #12
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Re: Empok Nor: Is Garak guilty of murder?

'In the Pale Moonlight' for sure.

Very, very true regarding defending him. I think it's part of what makes him so compelling.
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Old March 24 2009, 07:29 AM   #13
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Re: Empok Nor: Is Garak guilty of murder?

I think that's what makes it such a cool episode. It never sat right with me that they were just going to let Garak off the hook. Even though it's fairly obvious that he wasn't mentally capable of stopping himself from committing those crimes.

You guy are right on the money when you say he deserved the punishment at least a few times over, just not for what he did that day.
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Old March 24 2009, 01:43 PM   #14
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Re: Empok Nor: Is Garak guilty of murder?

^ That's true of most Cardassians from Damar's murder of Ziyal, to Ghemor's service on Bajor (though there is no evidence of any crimes committed by the Old Man).

It's actually become a running joke on DS9, as seen below...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1RTWnXfcdU
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Old March 24 2009, 05:05 PM   #15
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: Empok Nor: Is Garak guilty of murder?

Thor Damar wrote: View Post
^ That's true of most Cardassians from Damar's murder of Ziyal, to Ghemor's service on Bajor (though there is no evidence of any crimes committed by the Old Man).
With Tekeny...you're quite right--we don't even know if he fired his weapon. But somehow I think of any Cardassian, he is the one most likely to be genuinely upset about it if he DID take any Bajoran lives. If he did--which again we have no proof of it--I would not be surprised if having that on his conscience contributed to his decision to become a dissident.

As it is...we sure saw that even BEING there was a wound that hurt him right to the death.
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