Author Topic: The Death Penalty  (Read 9103 times)

JoshuaD

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The Death Penalty
« on: September 15, 2016, 05:08:36 PM »
What I learned from Executing Two Men

I believe the death penalty, in the context of the modern age with our ability to protect ourselves without the need for killing prisoners, is morally inexcusable. This article does a really good job of outlining why I feel that way. 

What do you think?

scifibum

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Re: The Death Penalty
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2016, 05:55:45 PM »
We aren't capable of defining rules for when to use the death penalty that will prevent us from wrongly executing someone, without effectively banning the practice entirely.  So, we should ban the practice entirely.  At least the other options allow some amount of error correction and restitution.


In other words: I have no problem with the concept that sometimes, the death penalty would be appropriate.  My problem is that humans are too flawed to identify those situations with sufficient reliability.

Gaoics79

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Re: The Death Penalty
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2016, 08:34:45 PM »
The article doesn't really outline a reason for the author's position, just a feeling. Granted, the feeling is well grounded in the author's experience, but it's still not a reason for anything other than a personal decision not to participate in this process.

I feel about capital punishment the same way I feel about legalized abortion. It's a purely moral question that cannot be decided on a rational basis or "settled" in any definitive sense. In both cases the pro side and the con side are entirely supportable from a moral and legal perspective. In both cases the practice makes me uncomfortable, but I'm unable to stake a firm position one way or the other.

I will also observe that like with abortion, I don't see society ever really moving on from this debate, despite the fact that legally most first world countries have resolved the issue in one direction.

Go on any message board in the most progressive, liberal nation you can find, and poll the population about the death penalty. Regardless of how that poll resolves, even if the majority is against capital punishment, then go and poll the people against the death penalty on the question of whether or not pedophiles, rapists (or whoever happens to be the vilest criminal you can imagine) should be put to death. Watch those enlightened first world ethics evaporate and suddenly the majority wants capital punishment. Then go and poll victims of rape, murder, the parents of slain children, and poll them about capital punishment. Outside of maybe the Amish, watch how quickly values change.

In my experience, people are against the death penalty in general terms, but almost always for it for the specific class of criminal (or individual) who seems most vile and evil to them. You get a different answer depending on the narrative that is used to frame the debate.

I don't see this cognitive dissonance ever going away.

« Last Edit: September 15, 2016, 08:38:16 PM by jasonr »

cherrypoptart

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Re: The Death Penalty
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2016, 09:31:30 PM »
I'm for the death penalty because I think it is a deterrent for some people and I also believe that while in prison there can be happiness to some extent, such as the pleasure of a good book or maybe ice cream and for many prisoners even sex and some people are so evil they don't deserve to have another moment of pleasure in their lives and the only way to stop that is to execute them. Why should a man who raped and murdered a child get to continue to experience the pleasure of rape of even more people in prison continuing on for decades?

I would allow more crimes to carry the death penalty, such as attempted murder, child rape, kidnapping in some cases such as a stranger kidnapping a child off the street, malicious maiming like throwing acid on someone or setting them on fire, and other such heinous crimes BUT the standard for proof would be much higher and would require proof beyond a shadow of a doubt instead of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Proof beyond a reasonable doubt would carry whatever the punishment is now but proof beyond a shadow of a doubt would carry a much harsher punishment.

I also approve of the Singapore style corporal punishment approach to criminal justice especially if there is, again, proof beyond a shadow of a doubt, even for lesser crimes like burglary, car theft, arson, and as was the case for Michael Faye, vandalism.

Gaoics79

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Re: The Death Penalty
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2016, 09:59:52 PM »
Quote
Why should a man who raped and murdered a child get to continue to experience the pleasure of rape of even more people in prison continuing on for decades?

I'm pretty sure most child rapists don't get to continue raping when they go to prison. It's quite the opposite in fact, if the stories about prison culture are true.

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BUT the standard for proof would be much higher and would require proof beyond a shadow of a doubt instead of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. 

This is the basic flaw with the pro death penalty stance that you outline, which I'm certain is extremely common. What you're talking about is really palm tree justice. What you really want is the ability to know whose really guilty and put those men to death, while infallibly avoiding putting to death anybody who isn't. You want a justice system that's like a movie or a TV show - where the really bad guys make themselves obvious.

What you want is of course impossible. To be in favour of capital punishment in any form is by definition to accept the certainty that innocent men are going to die. If you fail to accept and take responsibility for that, then you're advocating for fantasy, not reality.

And the legal standard you are proposing would have the side effect of making it virtually impossible to execute anyone. You'd never be satisfied with such a system, because no one would ever be convicted, and if someone was convicted, the appeals would be so lengthy that the criminal would die of old age before he got executed. Which by the way, practically describes our current status quo in many death penalty states - except your proposed heightened standard would exacerbate that by 1,000.

Redskullvw

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Re: The Death Penalty
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2016, 08:52:12 AM »
Catholic teaching on this has two components. I'll just put them out here. 1. We cannot know with certainty the guilt of a person to the point we can justify killing someone based on a conviction. 2. We should strive for a social norm and government form where incarceration based upon conviction is possible to endure for a lifetime span of time.

I find it ironic that Catholics support banning abortion and cheering executions. Then again I'm fairly logical and despise inconsistent beliefs.

In this day and age, in most governments currently in power, the need to execute anyone is just an excuse to display naked force so as to impress upon the general public the concept of final life authority of the state over its own people. If you recognize that right you are acknowledging the state to be all knowing, powerful, and unfailingly correct in judgement.

When 99% of American prisoners are executed, objectively I can see they were horrid failures and did major harm to society. When most of them die- literally nothing of value was lost. We are likely better off. But the 1% and the government having that power makes it unsupportable.

Fenring

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Re: The Death Penalty
« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2016, 09:31:43 AM »
I find it ironic that Catholics support banning abortion and cheering executions. Then again I'm fairly logical and despise inconsistent beliefs.

Are you sure that the Roman Catholic Church believes in capital punishment? I was under the impression it was against it, but I'll make an inquiry to verify. Based on my experience here with kmbboots I apparently know little about American Catholics.

JoshCrow

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Re: The Death Penalty
« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2016, 10:24:58 AM »
In response to the OP, I think the death penalty is morally ambiguous (rather than inexcusable), but should actually be opposed for the simple reason that it seems ridiculously unpragmatic. I oppose it on the simple grounds that it seemingly can't be done properly. First, there is of course the always-present risk of killing an innocent person. I would be content to limit the death penalty to those cases when the perpetrator both admits their action and is utterly unrepentant, but is otherwise of sound mind. Secondly - when I first learned how much money and effort is spent applying it I was mortified. All the more so when I saw how badly the attempt to sanitize it through "injections" was really just a sham. A fig leaf.

Frankly if people want the death penalty I would be happy to see it applied sensibly and cheaply: you knock the person unconscious with drugs, then drag and put them in a guillotine while they're out cold. People don't like the guillotine because it's savage, but perhaps such an act SHOULD be savage in appearance. After all, it is a killing. That would feel more honest to me, somehow.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2016, 10:27:24 AM by JoshCrow »

Seriati

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Re: The Death Penalty
« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2016, 10:34:33 AM »
I find it ironic that Catholics support banning abortion and cheering executions. Then again I'm fairly logical and despise inconsistent beliefs.

Not sure where I weigh in on the rest of the thread at the moment, but there's nothing inherently illogical about such a position.  All logic is based on axioms and assumptions, if your axiom is based on tying consequence to guilt, its only logical to believe killing the innocent (abortion) is heinous and killing a murder is justified.  The only tripping point is executing an innocent person. 

Of course, I don't think it's any where near as common as people believe.  They get confused by the difference between legal innocence and moral or actual innocence.  It's important to hold the state accountable for defects in process and ultimately to overturn flawed convictions, but that doesn't mean the "innocent" person didn't actually do the crime.

Fenring

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Re: The Death Penalty
« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2016, 10:42:44 AM »
It's important to hold the state accountable for defects in process and ultimately to overturn flawed convictions, but that doesn't mean the "innocent" person didn't actually do the crime.

To whit the word "innocent" isn't used in the legal process. "Not guilty" merely means not determined to be guilty. I don't think it's even supposed to connote innocence.

TheDrake

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Re: The Death Penalty
« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2016, 11:13:36 AM »
The deterrent argument never made sense to me. The fact that someone is contemplating a heinous murder, and they would say to themselves "You know what? I'm willing to risk life in prison, but since I might be put to death, I guess I'll go home and cool off." I could, however, believe that it helps prosecutors get plea deals.

In my personal experience, a vast number of people want revenge killing. Talk to anybody about a child murderer, and they will usually express a desire to see them raped or tortured or killed. That isn't really how we should define our formal justice, in my opinion, and in any event I would think living out your life in prison is far more punishment than simple death.

From a practical standpoint, execution wastes tax dollars. New York state projected that the death penalty costs $1.8 million dollars just through trial and initial appeal. Housing on death row costs twice as much as gen pop prisoners.

So even if we had a perfect process for identifying transgressors, I don't see the point. I also dislike the international club we belong to in this area. India and Japan are probably the most savory on a list that includes North Korea, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Nigeria. India has practically abolished it, only using it five times in 20 years. The current rankings in executions:

China, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, United States. Wow that's a fun group to be a part of. Gonna be hard to move up the list unless we streamline our process like China does. Which some death penalty fanboys have suggested - complaining that the appeals process should be shortened to make it less expensive.


Seriati

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Re: The Death Penalty
« Reply #11 on: September 16, 2016, 11:39:22 AM »
From a practical standpoint, execution wastes tax dollars. New York state projected that the death penalty costs $1.8 million dollars just through trial and initial appeal. Housing on death row costs twice as much as gen pop prisoners.

Actually no.  Process costs money.  There's nothing about an execution itself that is particularly expensive, the way we choose to carry them out on the other hand.

And Fenring, not sure I understand your point, innocent is certainly a legal concept, the fact that it's not a precise concept doesn't change that.

Redskullvw

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Re: The Death Penalty
« Reply #12 on: September 16, 2016, 11:51:22 AM »
Fen

Maybe I was unclear in what I wrote. We can't know with certainty and our society should be such that we can house a person convicted until time of natural death.

That some Catholics campaign against abortion but push executions is what I don't understand

NobleHunter

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Re: The Death Penalty
« Reply #13 on: September 16, 2016, 12:07:49 PM »
Actually no.  Process costs money.  There's nothing about an execution itself that is particularly expensive, the way we choose to carry them out on the other hand.
The sans-culottes could do it for pennies a neck, for example :p

TheDrake

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Re: The Death Penalty
« Reply #14 on: September 16, 2016, 12:20:48 PM »

Actually no.  Process costs money.  There's nothing about an execution itself that is particularly expensive, the way we choose to carry them out on the other hand.


I alluded to this later in my post - yeah, China's version of the death penalty is dirt cheap. They typically wait about two months. Are you advocating that, or just pointing it out?

Gaoics79

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Re: The Death Penalty
« Reply #15 on: September 16, 2016, 12:38:42 PM »
Quote
In my personal experience, a vast number of people want revenge killing. Talk to anybody about a child murderer, and they will usually express a desire to see them raped or tortured or killed.

While justice should not exclusively be about revenge, I think that there is a certain type of revenge that needs to happen for true justice to be served. A system of justice is, after all, not just there to see that justice is done but also that justice is *seen* to be done - hence the public nature of our courts. This may be the most important function of our courts - to show the people that evil doers will be punished, that they cannot "get away with it"

In an earlier time perhaps God served that function too. A murderer or a thief or even a powerful Lord would one way or another get what was coming to him, in the afterlife if need be.

In our post religious age where many have lost faith in divine justice, it is all the more necessary that evildoers are seen to feel real consequences. If a child rapist laughs at the victim's family, because he will live out his days with free food, board and tv - you might just see people become vigilanties. We discount the primal need for vengeance at our peril.

 Ironically, in lieu of capital punishment, society rejoices at the perceived savagery of our prison system. How many make jokes about or even revel in the idea if a pedophile being raped in prison? Instead of the state killing our worst criminals, we subcontract the job out to other criminals and rejoice at torture and murder that we are too squeemish to perform ourselves. I am not convinced that the current system is more humane than capital punishment.

Seriati

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Re: The Death Penalty
« Reply #16 on: September 16, 2016, 12:41:06 PM »
I was pointing out that an argument that we should keep people in prison for life rather than kill them because its cheaper is just circular reasoning.  It's cheaper because we choose it to be.  I mean is it fair that if you're on Death row you're entitled to endless legal assistance and appears, but if you're just sentenced to life, you get to be your own lawyer?  Why is it okay to do that to people?  If you balanced the procedural protections and gave everyone a right to justice, the cost argument would swing completely in the other direction.

Fenring

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Re: The Death Penalty
« Reply #17 on: September 16, 2016, 04:05:00 PM »
Fen

Maybe I was unclear in what I wrote. We can't know with certainty and our society should be such that we can house a person convicted until time of natural death.

That some Catholics campaign against abortion but push executions is what I don't understand

I'm still waiting on a question I posed to a Catholic I know who is very well versed in the Roman Catholic catechism, so I'll get back to you with the answer there. I don't have any sources I personally know for American Catholics.

Fenring

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Re: The Death Penalty
« Reply #18 on: September 16, 2016, 04:34:33 PM »
The person I know just referred me directly to the Roman Catholic catechism, so here is the passage on the death penalty:

Quote
Assuming that the guilty party's identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.

If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people's safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.

Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm - without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself - the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity "are very rare, if not practically nonexistent."

So basically it's acceptable as a last resort if and only if there is literally no other way to prevent the person harming others. If they can safely be incarcerated then it's not accepted as 'necessary' in this sense. There is zero notion in the RCC belief that the issue of capital punishment has anything to do with the needs of justice or vengeance; it's purely a pragmatic matter of safety. There is therefore no moral justification for killing a person who does not 'need' to be killed.

Having also just taken a glance at the website for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, it seems there is a very anti-death penalty sentiment there as well, with a quote from Pope John Paul II prominently at the top of the page denouncing it.

So I think the best we can say is that anyone who would be against abortion but for capital punishment is deciding to break with the wisdom of the their church on that topic and decide for themselves. You could therefore assert some 'some Catholics' may take on both of these positions, but I believe it's inaccurate to suggest that "Catholics" believe this, because officially at any rate they do not.

DonaldD

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Re: The Death Penalty
« Reply #19 on: September 16, 2016, 05:30:19 PM »
Quote
So basically it's acceptable as a last resort if and only if there is literally no other way to prevent the person harming others.
Actually, the directive is stricter than that: not just to prevent someone from "harming others" but quite specifically if it is the only effective way of "defending human lives" - meaning, to stop someone from killing, not just harming, others.

Catholics who support the death penalty as implemented in the USA are NOT following church teaching; say what you will about the Catholic Church, but its position on the sanctity of life (ignoring for now any other concern) is unequivocal.

TheDrake

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Re: The Death Penalty
« Reply #20 on: September 16, 2016, 11:24:00 PM »
I was pointing out that an argument that we should keep people in prison for life rather than kill them because its cheaper is just circular reasoning.  It's cheaper because we choose it to be.  I mean is it fair that if you're on Death row you're entitled to endless legal assistance and appears, but if you're just sentenced to life, you get to be your own lawyer?  Why is it okay to do that to people?  If you balanced the procedural protections and gave everyone a right to justice, the cost argument would swing completely in the other direction.

Good point on one part. We should scrutinize LWOP (life without parole) sentences equally hard. The reality, of course, is that you are not "entitled" to endless appeals. Many groups offer to pay or provide pro bono time to defend against the death penalty. The state is only really stuck with the massive cost to justify against these privately funded defenses at later stages.

TheDrake

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Re: The Death Penalty
« Reply #21 on: September 16, 2016, 11:35:28 PM »
WRT catholics: I think relatively few are pro-abortion or pro-death penalty. The same can't be said for evangelicals.

I think we can assume that the difference in public safety between 300 people being put to death or incarcerated for life is a moot point. Likewise, I believe the number of murderers not on death row who would have been deterred from their crimes is negligible. So what is the point, exactly? What is the desired outcome? A false sense of security or justice that is badly divorced from reality?

If Manson had been executed, would we have been better off as a society?

Did executing the heinous killer, Pablo Lucio Vasquez, make society better off? He's about the worst example I could find in a simple search. He killed a twelve year old, drank his blood, and mutilated his body.  I don't shed a tear for him, but I would ask, why would it be morally or functionally better to kill him?

Gaoics79

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Re: The Death Penalty
« Reply #22 on: September 17, 2016, 07:44:26 AM »
Quote
Did executing the heinous killer, Pablo Lucio Vasquez, make society better off? He's about the worst example I could find in a simple search. He killed a twelve year old, drank his blood, and mutilated his body.  I don't shed a tear for him, but I would ask, why would it be morally or functionally better to kill him?

Because instead of knowing that his poor victim died while the murderer lived at the taxpayer's expense in relative comfort and security, society now knows that he died.

Do you suppose that the only purpose of justice is a purely pragmatic goal of deterring future criminals, rehabilitating present ones, and keeping dangerous people off the streets? Does justice have no relevance to society at large beyond those three practical outcomes?

TheDrake

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Re: The Death Penalty
« Reply #23 on: September 17, 2016, 07:51:12 AM »
Because instead of knowing that his poor victim died while the murderer lived at the taxpayer's expense in relative comfort and security, society now knows that he died.

Ah, the old eye for an eye standard. We all feel better because the person who did bad things received punishment in kind. This type of argument is the one that also justifies corporal punishment, like caning, or humiliation, like being placed in stocks so citizens can hurl abuse. Wouldn't society like that as well?

If society is to get the full benefit, though, should we not return to the days where executions were a public spectacle? Also, why have a humane death for this awful person, maybe society should drown him so that he knows how it felt for his victims?

That would surely be justice on some base level. I think I'll vote no on these propositions, however.

Redskullvw

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Re: The Death Penalty
« Reply #24 on: September 17, 2016, 02:22:26 PM »
Fen

There is more to it than just that one line on the death penalty as far as the Catholic Catachism goes. Life and moral authority plays very much into the interpretation. The Official teaching is that all life is sacred and worthy even if we personally cannot make such a leap. I was on my phone so its hard to keep track of what I was writing at the time.

My point is this as a Catholic speaking to non Catholics, what we ultimately teach is that taking a life is the last allowable act, whether it is small scale in abortions or large scale in Just War Doctrine. There is in the case of the death penanlty the issues of absolute certainty, moral right of government, legal authority of government, the means of society, the moral rights of society, and the respect for a natural life time. All told it allows for the sum of all components to be as you find it on USCCB- its something the American society can afford to not impose both as a social moral and a moral government's right.

Most Catholics- especially cradle Catholics havent read the Catachisim. Its truly a case of belief through ignorance. Doesn't mean they arent Catholic, but much of what they believe is dogmatic and rote without deeper personal investment in the origin of the belief. Catholics know there are exceptions to causing deaths. Yep abortion has loopholes. Same with warfare. And the same with Capital punishment.

Which leads us to what was my original point. There are many (if not most Catholics) who are totally against abortions. Yet at the same time they are for capital punishment because its an enforcement of one of the 10 Comandments. Its a pick and choose. So you have nuns sometimes supporting executions. Other times they dont. Yet they remain in good communion with the Catholic Church either way.

Its a stretching of the logic contained in the Catachisim which allows them to do so. It also frequently reveals how many Catholics selectively provide emphasis to allow them to act in a way that suits them without ever really looking at the strengths of the exception to the overal belief and values contatined in the Catachism regarding what and why Catholics believe and do.

Its kinda like the condom. Most non Catholics believe Catholics universally say that a condom cant ever be used. For that matter most Catholics admit in surveys they use at least a condom. The reality is there is a defined exceto execute ption to birth control which allows a condom to be used.

The thing that is funny is that the exception is so specific it applies to very few American Catholics- yet american Catholics who use birth control use this to justify what they are doing.

Again in the most general terms, when you sum up what the catachisim states as to the belief of Catholics, we cannot know true guilt of a person and we can afford not to execute people because we do have the means of incarceration until the end of natural life span. Exceptions are allowed under that belief, but in practical terms the final teaching is incareate for life.


JoshuaD

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Re: The Death Penalty
« Reply #25 on: September 17, 2016, 05:04:48 PM »
Quote
Did executing the heinous killer, Pablo Lucio Vasquez, make society better off? He's about the worst example I could find in a simple search. He killed a twelve year old, drank his blood, and mutilated his body.  I don't shed a tear for him, but I would ask, why would it be morally or functionally better to kill him?

Because instead of knowing that his poor victim died while the murderer lived at the taxpayer's expense in relative comfort and security, society now knows that he died.

Do you suppose that the only purpose of justice is a purely pragmatic goal of deterring future criminals, rehabilitating present ones, and keeping dangerous people off the streets? Does justice have no relevance to society at large beyond those three practical outcomes?

Yes, I don't think vengeance is rightly a component of justice.

I think we should treat our prisoners with the same love and compassion and forgiveness we treat our children.

Their actions may have created a situation where they can't be trusted to walk free. That's OK. While we have them captive (even if its their entire life) I think we have a moral obligation to care for them and ensure that they aren't suffering due to legitimate reasons, and I certainly don't think (in the context of a society that's reasonable capable of indefinite detention) that capital punishment is morally justified.

If we kill one innocent person, we are all murderers.

cherrypoptart

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Re: The Death Penalty
« Reply #26 on: September 17, 2016, 07:01:26 PM »
How far should we go in making sure they are comfortable though?

If someone brutally murders dozens of innocent people including children, all in cold blood, and then brags about it so there is no doubt they did it, should they be complaining, like a spoiled child, about how brutal their prison conditions are because all of the video games they are allowed to play are too old?

Should we be happy about what a great society we have when we sentence him to only 21 years in prison, fewer than 4 months for each victim?

cherrypoptart

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Re: The Death Penalty
« Reply #27 on: September 17, 2016, 07:04:00 PM »
If we let a murderer go free and he murders again then we are all murderers.

If we set a rapist free and he rapes again we are all rapists.

If we set a child molester free and he molests another child we are all child molesters.

They are responsible for their first crimes but when we as a society convict them, imprison them, and choose to release them knowing full well they are still dangerous then that makes us responsible for the crimes they then commit.

JoshCrow

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Re: The Death Penalty
« Reply #28 on: September 17, 2016, 07:45:55 PM »

Gaoics79

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Re: The Death Penalty
« Reply #29 on: September 17, 2016, 07:46:21 PM »
Quote
If society is to get the full benefit, though, should we not return to the days where executions were a public spectacle? Also, why have a humane death for this awful person, maybe society should drown him so that he knows how it felt for his victims?

That would surely be justice on some base level. I think I'll vote no on these propositions, however.

Your vote is irrelevant. In fact we already punish criminals with a great "baseness" that you would find objectionable. Look at how pedophiles fare in prison and how everyday people applaud their fate. Go argue for the humane treatment of child rapists and then see how alone you are in your evolved sensibility. Even assuming no extraordinary violence or degradation, locking a human being up - this is something inherently punitive.

Intellectuals look at this and rationalize it as deterrence to future crimes. But I see that as rationalization, not reason. Many of the most depraved criminal acts cannot be deterred, period full stop. We punish criminals because society needs to see bad people punished. It fulfills a basic human need.

I'm not saying that we should punish criminals because it's a necessary cathartic release for society. I'm saying that criminals *will* be punished, one way or another, because it's an inherent human social need to see the wicked get their comeuppance. It will happen, with or without your consent. We hope to do so in a way that minimizes the barbarism that would undoubtedly accrue if the matter were left to the will of the mob. We don't cut off the limbs of thieves. But  rest assured, if thievery were not sanctioned by the state, the populous would find a way to make their feelings known, as we have seen in some recent extreme examples in Venezuala, where law and order has broken down:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3525921/Brutal-justice-mob-Mugger-beaten-floor-burned-alive-lynch-mob-stealing-people-street-Caracas.html

« Last Edit: September 17, 2016, 07:53:06 PM by jasonr »

JoshuaD

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Re: The Death Penalty
« Reply #30 on: September 17, 2016, 11:48:51 PM »
If we let a murderer go free and he murders again then we are all murderers.

If we set a rapist free and he rapes again we are all rapists.

If we set a child molester free and he molests another child we are all child molesters.

They are responsible for their first crimes but when we as a society convict them, imprison them, and choose to release them knowing full well they are still dangerous then that makes us responsible for the crimes they then commit.

No. In each of your examples, there's an intervening agency. This makes the examples you provided very different than the case of directly killing an innocent person.

TheDrake

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Re: The Death Penalty
« Reply #31 on: September 18, 2016, 08:34:04 PM »

Your vote is irrelevant. In fact we already punish criminals with a great "baseness" that you would find objectionable. Look at how pedophiles fare in prison and how everyday people applaud their fate. Go argue for the humane treatment of child rapists and then see how alone you are in your evolved sensibility. Even assuming no extraordinary violence or degradation, locking a human being up - this is something inherently punitive.

Call it my opinion and not my vote if you like. There's a reason why criminals who rape children are routiney segregated from the general population, who would almost certainly torture those individuals. We, as society, have chosen not to throw them to the lions. Even though as individuals, including me, we would want to do so especially if it happened in our community and especially our family.

The point is to acknowledge our innate desire for vengeance, but overcome it. This is a subject examined in many philosophical and religious writings, from the New Testament to Dante's Inferno.

Personally, I'd rather see vengeance against white collar criminals than violent criminals. But I still don't advocate for cattle prods or tar and feathers.