One of the interesting things that comes out of ALS's post is:
It seems to me that there was a consensus that asking a person, "how can you defend someone you *know* is guilty" at a social gathering is somewhat crass. I think it's rude to ask a person to justify their job, especially at a casual get together.
So, is it a rude question? Is it crass for a person I meet at a cocktail party to ask, "How can you represent someone when you know he's guilty?"
I'll admit, when I hear the question, I feel a bit defensive. Maybe wrongly so, I'm not sure.
I haven't had many other jobs, but I waitressed in high school, I don't remember a lot of people worrying about the moral quandaries involved - it's not as a lot of people said to me, "How can you serve fatty food to people who are already obese?" Maybe waiting tables isn't a good example, but it's one job that I was never asked to defend.
I wonder if you could come up with a moral quandary for every job if you tried hard enough. In college I worked at a computer help desk. "How do you repair people's computers when they messed them up themselves, and you know they're just going to do it again?" Doesn't work quite as well.
But, maybe it's not meant to be rude or crass. Maybe I read too much into it. Maybe it's more like someone saying "Wow, a bus driver? How do you drive all around the city and pick those people up and drop them off?" Maybe they're not questioning my morals so much as expressing their awe...
Yeah, that's it, they're expressing their awe. Maybe the best response is, "Yeah, I know, it's hard, but I am pretty amazing."
Or, I also liked A Voice of Sanity's response:
You could always screw with their mind. Tell them, "The same way a funeral director can bury someone they know is dead".
Not that my client's prospects are as dim as the funeral director's, of course.
But, back to *the* question. What do you think... Is it a rude question? Are people just curious, and possibly well-meaning? Am I over-sensitive or too defensive? Those of you with other occupations, do you get any similar questions?