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THOSE DARNED HIT MEN
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Sandy Sandfort writes:
> SCENARIO ONE
> I set up a meat-and-potatoes escrow business. I keep my nose
> clean. I honor my obligations. I build up a good reputation.
> At some point, I'll be approached by a murderer and the person
> who is hiring him or her. I'll accept the payment. When the
> murder is committed, I won't pay off. The murderer will (a) sue
> me (I don't think so), (b) damage my reputation (I'll leave this
> one as an exercise for the student), or (c) murder *me* (ah, but
> first he has to find me; in the world we posit, that won't be
> very easy). If this scenario happens very often, it'll take all
> the profit out of the murder business. Of course, the murderer
> can get the money face-to-face from the customer, but then we're
> back to today's square one.
Regarding (b), why wouldn't reputation be as important to "Murder
Escrows R Us" as to "Meat-and-Potatoes Escrow"? Certainly the smaller
market will result in higher charges for customers of MERU, but I
don't see a qualitative difference in operation.
Also, there is no reason for MAPE to know that they are paying a
killer. The escrow could be set up to pay off or refund when a
trusted certification agency instructs MAPE to do so. It might be
possible to spread the pieces around such that no one agent is aware
that they are participating in a murder for hire.
> SCENARIO TWO
> I set up a phoney murder-for-hire business. Someone contracts
> with me to bump-off their rich uncle. The client deposits my
> payment with a reputable escrow company, "Murder Escrows R Us." I
> go to the uncle and tell him the whole deal. Using digital
> technology, bribed coroners, etc., we fake his death. When the
> news hits the Net, the escrow pays me off. The uncle comes back
> to life, disinherits whomever he suspects wanted him dead. And I
> laugh all the way to the digital bank. I create a new pseudonym,
> place another murder-for-hire ad, and do it all again. Given our
> Brave New World, nobody can touch me.
This is a risk the customer is taking. I'd make sure to only
hire killers certified by the Assassin's Guild, just as I'd only use
an escrow agency certified by people I trust. I don't see this as a
service that is sufficiently different in _kind_ to require protocols
not required by other (pseudo)anonymous businesses.
A contract programmer is always intense.
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