1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. We've had very few donations over the year. I'm going to be short soon as some personal things are keeping me from putting up the money. If you have something small to contribute it's greatly appreciated. Please put your screen name as well so that I can give you credit. Click here: Donations
    Dismiss Notice

Rationalizing the Death Penalty

Discussion in 'Tilted Philosophy, Politics, and Economics' started by rogue49, Apr 16, 2012.

  1. rogue49

    rogue49 Tech Kung Fu Artist Staff Member

    Now, I'm all for fairness...and getting it right.
    Let me get that out up front.

    If there is any doubt or circumstantial evidence, then it's a no-go.
    Truly, this is not a competition to "win" a prosecution, this is a person's life.
    But I do believe the Death Penalty is valid action.

    If it is OBVIOUS, no doubt AT ALL.
    Then do it.

    Do it fast, do it safely, and get it over with. Quick.
    My sense of fairness & justice does not include making people feel pain, suffering or equaling it.

    There are people like serial killers, Sadam Hussein, etc...who deserve death.

    And I don't want to pay for their long-term jail.
    Why? They aren't going to be rehabilitated, they have proven a harm to others & society.
    They have used up EVERY benefit of the doubt in their lives by doing death to many others.

    What do you think??

    This is a good example, like Charles Manson...
    You can see the pics on the link...
  2. Daniel_

    Daniel_ The devil made me do it...

    The visceral, animalistic part of me says "Rrrrrawwwr! Kill bad people". The rational, cynical part of me says "Yeah, but what if they get the wrong guy?"

    On a purely philosophical level, I keep running into the conundrum that if it's wrong for an individual to kill an individual how can it be acceptable for a society to kill an individual? Isn't that just mob rule? Simply because we have a uniform and an anthem and a flag, we can kill people - that seems odd and contrary to me.

    There's also the issue that you get escalation of crimes. Take the argument that "all pedophiles should get the death sentence". This incentivises pedophiles to kill their victims, and claim it was an accident - unless you also have the death penalty for manslaughter. The whole area of "might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb" comes into play. Knowing that murder will get me hanged, I may as well murder lots of people.

    Finally, there's the concern that people make mistakes.

    I would support the death sentence under the following situations:

    1) Only for the most severe crimes imaginable.
    2) Only for people what cannot possibly be rehabilitated.
    3) Only in cases where there is totally unimpeachable proof that the crime was committed and that the criminal was certainly the prime mover in the crime.

    And finally, the rules should only come into play after there has been a ten year period where no court of appeal has overturned a single guilty verdict for any crime that would get the death sentence under the new rules.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Strange Famous

    Strange Famous it depends on who is looking...

    Ipswich, UK
    The death penalty is a ritual to cleanse the public from the evil of the morally worst crimes

    I wouldn't support hanging being mandatory for crimes like murder as it used to be, and on balance I wouldnt support the death penalty at all even if I do understand its value

    If someone like Ian Huntley or rose west was killed would I care? Not really. But I do not want the state to make a killer of me, even if the killed "deserve it"
  4. rogue49

    rogue49 Tech Kung Fu Artist Staff Member

    I don't think of it otherwise.
  5. greywolf

    greywolf Slightly Tilted

    I fully support the death penalty when a competent, objective person (not persons) decrees that the offender is no longer worthy of living, no matter what the crime was. There ARE worse crimes than murder, and those should be included.

    An exhaustive of competent, objective people in the world would include ME. And only me. And since I'm not inclined to spend all my time deciding every one of these cases, the death penalty becomes arbitrary, and as such unacceptable. Sorry fans, but it simply has got to go.
    • Like Like x 2
  6. Strange Famous

    Strange Famous it depends on who is looking...

    Ipswich, UK
    Did Ruth Ellis deserve to die?

    Ruth Ellis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    She was unquestionably a murderer, but I wouldnt have wanted to be the one to drop the hatch. The problem with making murder a capital crime is that there are degree's of blame, and some people dont seem to "deserve" to die.

    And if you say "well, murder wont always be a capital crime, only in the most disgusting cases" then the problem is as others have stated above, who decides which cases are disgusting enough, and how can we rely on them to be right in this judgment?

    And I think you should ask yourself that question honestly. If you deserve the death penalty, would you be willing to put the noose around the man's neck and drop the hatch? (or tie him down and flip the switch if your an American)?

    If you have a chance to, I would really recomend this movie/show

    The Execution of Gary Glitter - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Right from the start, I'll tell you it isnt unbiased, and the agenda behind it is broadly anti-death penalty, but its not heavy handed in getting the message across (or denying that the guy is a revolting deviant) and it really made me think. A lot of people will say off hand down the pub "oh, I think paedophiles are the scum of the earth and should be killed" - but it actually makes you look at what that looks like.
  7. rogue49

    rogue49 Tech Kung Fu Artist Staff Member

    Honestly, Yes.
    Just as I would hunt & prepare my own food if necessary.

    I'm not cruel at all. Just real.
    People live in society, you have a certain responsibility to it.

    A person who with intent and not circumstance, takes the life of many people, then they have used up their time here.
    Pedos...I'm not arguing for. Animal cruelty I'm not arguing for. (although I would likely go agro on them, and have to be jailed myself)
    And other betrayers, I'm not arguing for.

    I'm talking about those who willingly stopped the lives of others with no other reason than to sate their own personal desires.
    This is not war. This is not a police action.
    Death is final.

    If you want to kill, go to a slaughter-house. Have a field day. You'll be productive, supplying food for others.

    I'm talking about those outside of an official context, went out on their own, and took the lives of fellow society members.
    Again & again, with repetition.

    And if given the choice, they would do so again & again.
    Sometimes, although rare, in relative terms, these persons and their actions are obvious.

    It's like you asking me, pointing at a chair I'm sitting on, "Is this chair real?" "Will it always be real, until destroyed/deteriated?"
    Yes, it is. No doubt, no other context. It is obvious.
    There is no changing it.

    These same killers. Have proven themselves to be killers. Will always be killers.
    I do not want them alive.
    I do not want to pay for their well being in prison.

    If I was being sarcastic, I'd say, If you want, put them in the middle of the Congo or Amazon or Sahara...where there are no other humans.
    But there are other humans even there, I wouldn't do that to them.
    And the killers would suffer, I wouldn't do that to them.
    So, to me, there is only one solution.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Stan

    Stan Resident Dumbass

    I have no moral issue with the death penalty. I simply have no faith in our judicial system to get it right 100% of the time.

    I'd prefer that 100 Chuck Mansons die of old age, than a single innocent person get murdered on my behalf.
  9. Baraka_Guru

    Baraka_Guru Möderätor Staff Member

    I find the death penalty in itself irrational.

    "[The logic of the punishment was to enable the offender to reform and turn into a good citizen.] Experience has shown that execution doesn’t give such a chance to the offender. Instead it terminates the offender’s life, a situation that makes it lose its meaning. [The penalty is unreasonable.] The law does not call for a rapist to be raped or a person who beats another to be beaten. [Why should murderers be subjected to death?]"​
    — Retired Chief Justice Augustino Ramadhani, calling for the abolishment of the death penalty in an interview with The Guardian ahead of World Day Against the Death Penalty, 2011​

    Most developed societies (perhaps all) have shifted their justice systems towards a correctional system rather than a punitive one. This is based on the idea that all people are capable of reform. Not all of them will, but they should be afforded the chance within reasonable parameters.

    The death penalty is a cruel punishment, and it seems out of place within a system of justice that upholds human rights as outlined by universal standards. It does seem wrong to take a life as punishment for taking a life. Why does that sound so reasonable to people? If you support it as a way to "wash our hands" of people you loathe or people whose actions you find extremely reprehensible, then fine. I, however, don't support that. I wouldn't call it a reasonable punishment either.

    The other issue is this: I believe that those who end up with death sentences are far from being healthy individuals. If we take this into account, it would seem the death penalty, among other things, is a practice that "puts down" sick human beings. I have a problem with that too.

    Finally: The biggest pet peeve I have of this and related topics is when people dehumanize criminals as "animals" or as being "inhuman." This is a cop out. They're human beings like you and me. It's difficult to accept the fact that humanity is capable of terrible acts. I assume this is a big driver behind wanting to "wash our hands" of the worst offenders.

    I prefer other options.

    The last execution in Canada was on December 11, 1962, when a man was hung 7 km (~4 miles) from where I'm sitting.
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2012
  10. mixedmedia

    mixedmedia ...

    No big surprise that I don't support the death penalty.
    It's not cheaper. It's not just. And, as has been pointed out, it is not infallible.
    Ritual cleansing, my ass. It's revenge. That's not the way I operate and it's not the way I prefer the society I live in to operate.
  11. Baraka_Guru

    Baraka_Guru Möderätor Staff Member

    In light of what mixedmedia said, I take issue with this directly. You seem to lump all convicted murderers together. I find that odd.

    They aren't going to be rehabilitated? Do you know that? Do you honestly think all of those sentenced with murder are the same? Are they all "monsters"? Do you know their stories? Do you know what they're really like? Do you think they're all "career killers" or "natural born killers"?

    You aren't satisfied with their removal from society; you want them removed from existence. Why is that?

    Does this mean you'd have the death penalty for some killers but not for others? I'm unsure about your overall position.
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2012
  12. Plan9 FORMAT C:

    This Island Earth
    I have no problem with the death penalty because I see prison as an institution of dual purpose: incapacitation for those that cannot reenter society and "rehabilitation" for those that can. I also fail to see how expense really relates to capital punishment because the entire Adult Daycare industry is a money pit, much like law enforcement or anything else that is for The Greater Good. If you want to talk about the justice system and money, you're largely wanking at the wind unless you're going to go all Stalin and start issuing $.47 sentences. Correct me if I'm wrong, but society doesn't have these things because they make sense in a black/red world, society has them because society needs them to maintain order in society and because society feels that the appropriate level of order is humanely attained by putting found-dangerous men in tiny little concrete cages for decades at a time.

    Me? I'd rather take a bullet to the temple than be locked in a box by myself for twenty years. You guys have this really weird idea of what is humane.
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2012
    • Like Like x 2
  13. mixedmedia

    mixedmedia ...

    If everyone sentenced to death is so willing to die, why do you suppose that nearly every death penalty conviction goes into multiple appeals? When was the last time you heard a person on death row say that they were ready to be strapped to a table and be killed? Once, twice, maybe?

    What you would rather do in your fantasy has nothing to do with reality.
  14. Baraka_Guru

    Baraka_Guru Möderätor Staff Member

    Jeffrey K. Skilling, the former chief executive of Enron, was sentenced to more than 24 years in prison. He ruined the lives of thousands. Two and a half decades. Death penalty?
  15. Strange Famous

    Strange Famous it depends on who is looking...

    Ipswich, UK
    This is the biggest problem I have.

    If people dont want to look up Ruth Ellis, just think of two examples.

    An emotionally volatile woman who is beaten up by and has a miscarriage after being punched in the stomach by her violent lover who then shoots him when he takes up with another woman...

    Is not the same as a woman who brutally totures, rapes and kills children in partnership with her equally deranged husband, who video tapes the murders (which include her own step daughter and children) for later enjoyment, and who kills from sheer sadism.

    Ruth Ellis is not the same as Rose West.

    I cannot accept murder in itself being a capital crime, because some murders are so much worse than others. I do not trust any existing mechanism of the state to judge the difference.


    All I would say also is that I find the American methods of execution especially cruel and bizzare. That people are kept on death row for years while appeal after appeal fails, constantly at fear for their life, is more sadistic and barbaric than the Roman's throwing people to the lions or crucifying them. It is this more than the act itself which outrages me.

    After the sentence they should be hanged within a week maximum. One appeal for clemency to whatever authority makes that call, then hang them - and not in public and not with buffoons cavorting around outside the prison gates celebrating the killing. People sitting on death row are being tortured.
    --- merged: Apr 17, 2012 at 12:13 PM ---
    For a start over half the people in prison in the UK or US are either mentally ill or drug addicts. The costs of prison could be dramatically reduced if these people were helped rather than dumped in jail. Jail should be for professional cheats or genuinely violent criminals.

    And inmates should be encourages to work. Not forced, and not degrading tasks like breaking rocks. Everyone in prison should be given three meals a day, a bed, shelter, toilet and washing facilities, and and 1 hour outside a day.

    Every other privilege (ie playstations, tv's, books, gym equipment, going to church, etc) they should have to work for, doing real and meaningful work that will give them self respect and real skills they can use on the outside. They should be taxed as a top rate earner, and where possible some of what they earn should go back to victim.


    But unfortunately society would rather just lock them up and not think about it,

    And because we cut back so much on staff, we give them playstations, nintendo's, tv's, etc to keep them quiet.

    (and before people tell me I dont know what its like in prison... my sister is prison warden, so I have a better idea than most who havent been inside themselves)
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2012
  16. Plan9 FORMAT C:

    This Island Earth
    Really? We're arguing personal opinions as reality now? Damn, you're good. What about my "Well, if it happened to me..." statement was confusing? I'm writing at a 7th grade level here. Please, tell me how I should feel about your particular flavor of justice, Middle Class White Woman from Town.

    /Middle Class White Guy from Town

    The "reality" is quite obvious from the history of the capital punishment appeals process in the US. No "we cracked a book" shit, Sherlock.

    I wasn't debating that.

    Are you asking for my opinion? I say: Why not? Makes a helluva lot more sense than killing a troubled black guy for busting a cap in a 7-11 clerk way back in 1985. But here's the thing: we can't rationalize that because it's like trying to get a handle on Pol Pot. And because the dude is a college'd white.

    We kill rapists and murderers left and right. A white guy can ruin thousands of lives by writing a check or moving some meta-money, gets nothin'.

    Interpersonal crimes are somehow more offensive than "pushing the button." We get that.
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2012
    • Like Like x 1
  17. Tully Mars

    Tully Mars Very Tilted

    Yucatan, Mexico
    I know of a few current and former death row inmates who either requested or actively sought out execution. One man in Washington state rejected all appeals and requested to be hanged ASAP (in that state anyone on death row can choose between hanging and the needle.) He was executed rather quickly if memory serve me correctly. A man in Oregon is, or was, currently suing the state to carry out his sentence. The Governor of Oregon has place a halt to all executions while he's in office.

    Do I care if an inmate prefers death over a life in custody? Fuck no. They lost their right to an opinion on the matter when they committed their crimes.

    I don't favor the death penalty for many reason but it mainly boils down, for me, to killing is wrong regardless of who's doing the killing.
  18. Strange Famous

    Strange Famous it depends on who is looking...

    Ipswich, UK
    I think it is exceptionally worrying and dangerous slope you stand on the precipice of when you say that someone can lose their human rights by certain acts.

    I am conscious you don't explicitly say this, but it seems to me to be at the crux of this view.

    Under the American constitution citizens have the right not be given "cruel" punishments, and being forced to languish with an axe hanging over your head for 20 years, taken again and again to the point of death and then given a temporary reprieve... this is as cruel as I could imagine.

    I also don't support the death penalty, but if you are going to do it, do it straight away, without all of this messing around and psychological torture.

    I also think the only acceptable to do it, if you are going to do it, is hanging.

    Electrocution, gassing, poisoning, again are all needlessly cruel and inhuman.
  19. Plan9 FORMAT C:

    This Island Earth
    Careful with your ideas of reality now.

    The thread. This topic. Tilted Politics. Sweet Mother of Hasselhoff. Somebody kill me. All this has happened before and all this will happen again.

    In comparison to hanging? Arguing seconds of pain is a little ridiculous of us when we're killing someone.

    A bullet to the credit card area of the human head is a painless death albeit not very politically correct.

    I find it funny when those that argue in favor of barbaric acts (killing someone) want cuddly methods.
    • Like Like x 1
  20. Baraka_Guru

    Baraka_Guru Möderätor Staff Member

    "Humane killing" is an oxymoron.

    Last edited: Apr 17, 2012
    • Like Like x 1