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Rationalizing the Death Penalty

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

  1. Baraka_Guru

    Baraka_Guru Möderätor Staff Member

    Considering the possibility for parole, the options aren't merely death vs. lifetime in a cell.

    In Canada anyway, if you are a good boy or girl, and the details of your crime aren't too unsavoury, you're eligible for parole after 10 to 25 years (depending on whether it was first- or second-degree murder).
  2. rogue49

    rogue49 Tech Kung Fu Artist Staff Member

    I don't understand why we keep expanding the debate.

    I initially put out there, that the criminals being discussed were those most unsavoury. Mass murderers, serial killers.
    Those that are fully proven, without any doubt, very obvious...and if given life, wouldn't be paroled ever.
    And this would be true for almost ANY country, including Norway, which is a very progressive nation.

    Why are we talking about other types of criminals?
    I agree those of lesser types should be considered for parole, etc.

    Those we are talking about...it would be death or life, no other options.
  3. Joniemack

    Joniemack Beta brainwaves in session

    Reading, UK
    First, let me apologize for the Hitler comparison. Hitler was the embodiment of deviancy, fear and paranoia. Understanding that he was psychologically damaged, to put it mildly, allows me to at least logically understand why someone so disturbed would behave the way he did. There have been few people who I would compare to him. I don't know you but odds are, you don't belong on that list.

    What I don't understand, is how otherwise rational and "normal" people can write off another human being because they commit a crime. Now I didn't bring up the mentally ill aspect here, you did. And I do feel that it's appropriate to respond as the OP has laid out specific incidences where the death penalty, in his opinion, is inappropriate. Though I can't agree with him on the death penalty, overall, I can come to terms with his opinions as it appears he's at least applied some introspection to them. If you have as well, it's not evident in your posts.

    We obviously disagree entirely about the issue, but I find it stunning that you would so easily condemn to death anyone who has committed an act of murder, regardless of the circumstances or their mental ability to function normally. "A crime is a crime" Sounds as if you wouldn't mind seeing lesser crimes fall under the death penalty umbrella (maybe not a fair assumption, but there it is) This sort of cavalier attitude towards your fellow human beings and whether they should live or die sends chills up my spine.

    I'm sort of hoping you're just trying to be cute.

    I was raped when I was 30. A year and half ago my 20 yr old daughter was robbed and terrorized while a gun was held to her forehead. There's more. I'm no stranger to violence. None of it drove me to the place you are. I can't imagine the devastating violence you've obviously been subjected to.

    An average of 16 family members for each of the 30 victims? Where did you come up with that number?
  4. Baraka_Guru

    Baraka_Guru Möderätor Staff Member

    I still don't see the rationale behind taking a life as punishment for taking a life.

    And you'd have to have a very specific set of criteria for determining who is and isn't capable of rehabilitation.

    And there is still the assumption that life in prison is a fate worse than death. Does this mean that perhaps we should rethink how prisons are run?

    Your argument still smacks of getting rid of a problem rather than dealing with it another way.

    Capital punishment is still the act of killing when there is no perceivable and immediate threat on human life.

    Capital punishment is still cruel and unusual punishment in the same vein as torture.

    Below is a relevant part of a statement from Amnesty International:

    The death penalty violates the right to life. It is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. An execution, just like torture, involves a deliberate assault on a prisoner. [...]​
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2012
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  5. Joniemack

    Joniemack Beta brainwaves in session

    Reading, UK
    If the criminal is a proven threat to society, what difference does it make how many people he killed? Is there a threshold we need to be dealing with here?

    If a criminal rapes and kills 1 young woman, is he less unsavory because he didn't rape and kill 20?

    At what point is there no hope for redemption or rehabilitation?

    If there is no hope for redemption or rehabilitation, would you not consider the possibility that the killer might be insane?

    What is the purpose of the death penalty?
  6. rogue49

    rogue49 Tech Kung Fu Artist Staff Member

    You can't say...
    I'd say a good number is 5
    Some say 3 strikes you're out.
    But 2 more is good for death, just to make sure.

    Seriously, it will be obvious...at what point a person is beyond redemption...and would likely get death, or at least life forever with no parole.

    I actually saw the 3 strike you're out law put into effect in CA. It didn't work, prisons got full in no time at all. And for stupid stuff too.
    Having number attached to anything doesn't work.
    There is some discretion, situationally it is too complex to have to a literal.

    But that's what law is about, definition & discretion.
    And sometimes, it's apparent as the nose right in front of your face. This is what I'm talking about.

    Sure, you may think the woman who killed 5 others vigilante style, step by step...because they killed her kid. (or raped her...or stole from her)
    So she could be rehabilitated. No problem.
    But the guy, who slaughtered 5, skinned them...put them in his frig, liked their stuff crispy. You caught him with a femur in his mouth.
    I'd say this guy is a candidate for execution.

    That's what I mean by discretion and the obvious.
    Same number, but it is clear who is what.
    If it's not obvious, then simple, keep them in prison.

    Tell me, would you rehab the guy I just described? Would you parole him??
    Or just keep him living in a cell forever.
    From what you're saying, yes.
    That is your choice. (not theirs)
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2012
  7. Joniemack

    Joniemack Beta brainwaves in session

    Reading, UK
    Obvious to whom? I don't know about you, but I wouldn't want to be making that judgment without a crystal ball to tell me what the future held for that person. What qualifies any of us to decide that someone is beyond redemption? And I'm not speaking about religious redemption though it's certainly a path some take. I've lived long enough to know that people change as they get older. I'm not the same person now that I was in my twenties. I'm not even the same person I was 5 years ago. The only barrier to change is non-treatable mental illnesses and can you justify capital punishment for crimes committed by the mentally ill? Life imprisonment will at least allow the murderer the opportunity to one day redeem himself, if not in the eyes of society, at least in own eyes. It's not impossible. Hardened criminals, guilty of the worst crimes, do it all the time, provided they aren't put to death before they get the opportunity.

    Your response indicates that you did not get my point, at all.

    My point is - You seem to suggest that mass murder and serial style murder is somehow more deserving of the death penalty than a single murder. So I made the assumption that it's a numbers game for you. The bigger the kill, the worse the punishment. If the punishment for a single murder is based on the malicious taking of a life, it boils down to nothing more than revenge-seeking to up the punishment for the taking of more than one life. An unsavory mass murderer is no more or less unsavory than an equally unsavory single murderer.

    As offensive as that is to our sensibilities, what is gained by killing him? My guess is, you believe in evil, attribute such behavior to evil, deem it irreversible, and see no recourse but to destroy it. Modern day witch-hunting. Burn what you can't understand. Better to take advantage of his imprisonment. Study his psychology over an extended period of time. But I went into all this in an earlier post.

    I would try. In this particular case, the killer is obviously very mentally disturbed. I would hope to be able to find a way to treat that, either pharmacologically or therapeutically.

    If I felt he was completely rehabilitated and he'd spent 20 - 30 years in prison? Possibly. But there are many other factors to consider - how will conform to life on the outside? Does he have any job skills? Does he have family or a support network? Would his own life be in danger, if he were released? I wouldn't want to see him denied parole simply on the basis that 30 years earlier he had committed a horrendous crime. I think of Charles Mason. Televised interviews over the years have revealed that his mental illness has not improved, though I highly doubt much has been done to treat it. But I just don't know. In his case, in his current state of mind, I don't ever see him getting paroled and wouldn't want him to.

    Then there's the three woman who were convicted with him. Susan Atkins (died in prison 2009) who was repeatedly denied parole despite psychiatric reports confirming that she did not pose a threat to society. The same story with Patricia Krenwinkle and Leslie Van Houten. Completely rehabilitated, both having earned bachelor's degrees and both very involved with rehabilitation programs for other prisoners, no threat to society, yet denied parole for crimes they committed while under the influence of drugs and a very disturbed psychopath. It's not only a numbers thing, punishment is doled out and reinforced in direct relation to our reaction to it. The more we're abhorred by it, the greater the punishment. Justice by gut reaction. And the gut does not forgive.

    The death penalty is an act of mercy. :rolleyes:
    No, it's an act of killing.
    Assisted suicide is an act of mercy.
    The euthanasia of dying or suffering pets is an act of mercy.
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  8. Freetofly

    Freetofly Diving deep into the abyss

  9. Alistair Eurotrash

    Reading, UK
    I don't understand why I would want to rationalise the death penalty. I see it as barbaric.

    Isn't the meaning of "rationalise" as follows? Why would I want to do that?

    ..to ascribe (one's acts, opinions, etc.) to causes that superficially seem reasonable andvalid but that actually are unrelated to the true, possibly unconscious and often less creditable or agreeable causes.
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2012
  10. mixedmedia

    mixedmedia ...

    Exactly. It is how the right habitually co-opts the terminology of the left in perverted ways. diversity=racism. war=peace. capital punishment=human rights.
    it's sociopathic.
  11. Joniemack

    Joniemack Beta brainwaves in session

    Reading, UK

    I prefer to believe the underlying causes for such opinions are subconscious rather than unconscious and those who rationalize are capable of overcoming their "seemingly reasonable and valid" justifications with some willingness to delve deeper into themselves for the honest truth behind their superficial opinions.

    Unconscious causes indicates to me that they cannot be held responsible for their beliefs and opinions. I can't and don't accept that.
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2012
  12. rogue49

    rogue49 Tech Kung Fu Artist Staff Member

    Death is Death. period.
    This is why I used the word "rationalize" in the title rather than "justify".
    Because we rationalize our perspective either way.
    It just depends on your perspective.

    To some, including those it being done to at time, the Death Penalty is mercy.
    To you it's killing. Depends on your perspective.

    Assisted suicide/euthanasia (which I don't oppose and can see benefits for),
    many would say those wanting it are temporarily insane...depressed, you just have to wait...
    And those assisting it are murderers. (one of the reasons Dr. Kevorkian went to jail...unfortunate/unnecessary from my viewpoint)

    The euthanasia of dying or suffering pets is an act of mercy. (which I support and have done so myself in the past)
    How? They didn't ask for it.
    You made the choice for them.
    Some may say (not me), in some ways it makes you feel more comfortable for yourself. Maybe even more convenient.

    Death is a part of life.
    I'd say, most of us don't get the benefit to just fall asleep and pass away in some grand old age. Usually, it's another more uncomfortable way.
    Doctors/hospitals make this choice everyday for patients that are ill. Sometimes unfortunately to either extreme.
    Some give up too fast, some try to save too long...when is the right time??? Who are THEY to make this decision?

    If you're not vegetarian, which most of us are. You need to be realistic where your meat comes from. Or do you ignore it?

    I'm not afraid of Death.
    It is what it is. And it can happen at any time for no reason or rhyme.
    I've experienced the instant conquences first-hand. Both it happening to me, and to others...
    Having a large branch piercing my car window like a spear, scraping my face.
    Seeing a schoolmate crushed in his car wrapped around a telephone poll across from my home.
    2 years working as a transport tech at a hospital showed me this.
    A dead baby in my arms to be put in a frige.
    Running my heart out several times to get for blood for a dying mother, in the end, her heart actually in the doctors hand being massaged.
    Walking into pathology accidently to see a baby staring at me, it's back wide open...searing the vision into my eyes.
    In the end, we are dead, just like anything else.

    What I'm afraid of is pain & suffering.
    6 years of supporting my wife through her illness, seeing her in pain everyday.
    Stuck inside a house, not being to live, the way she wants, the way she was.
    Having her ask me, if she gets to that point...to let her go. Having her beg me not to take her to the hospital, which can't really do anything.
    Having to hold my lovely long-time pet, to comfort her...while they put her to sleep.
    Supporting my grandmother in her decision to stop dialysis, so her renal failure can take over and let herself pass and stop the pain.
    Go ahead, think me as heartless and uncaring.

    People/Enitities/Society make millions of decisions everyday on where to draw the line.
    And the debate is FURIOUS on either side.
    Each side comes up with their own reasons and perspectives.
    And each side thinks other side is "rationalizing" their viewpoints.

    Me, I'm not truly justifying. And I don't think you on the other side are justifying either.
    You've just chosen where in the line in the sand is for you.
    And believe it or not. This may change in the future, for either of us...dependent on your mood, the situation, your emotions and other factors...
    And don't tell me it can't. I've seen it change for many people over time. Either way.

    Barbaric, immoral, insane, superficial, sociopathic, perverted...
    these are the words used to describe your perspective currently on me or others who say otherwise.
    This is what Plan9 was saying from what I read.
    You either support it or you don't. Unfortunately, I was starting to take the verbage to heart, he snapped me out of it. "a kick in the head"

    In the end, it's all an illusion.
    You're fighting with passion a dream, which changes daily, moment by moment.
    But this has very real consequences and impact on reality...yours & others.

    I want you to understand, your choices may make a person suffer either way. Death or Life.
    And your choice may not be what theirs is...either way. Death or Life.

    I certainly don't want to "justify" it. Really, there is no justice either way. It's just a shame that it had to down this way, either way.

    For me, if a person slaughters many others for their own "playtime". And it's obvious they did it. Then they deserve death.
    They certainly don't deserve life. I don't want them around. I don't want to support them. They are useless to the world.
    This is my rationalization.
    What's yours?

    Last edited: Apr 22, 2012
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  13. Joniemack

    Joniemack Beta brainwaves in session

    Reading, UK
    You contradict yourself, Rogue.

    You talk a good game of death as the merciful alternative to the "inhumanity" of life in prison and offer up a lot of irrelevant nonsense about how we all have to die sometime, but your final few lines reveal your true reasons for being a death penalty supporter.

    You hate the bastards, regard them as sub-human, and from your god perch on high, judge them unfit to live. The most honest statement you've made in this entire thread.

    I don't need to justify my position. I don't arrive at it reactively. I've applied logic and can find no reasonable purpose for the death penalty. It doesn't make anyone safer. It doesn't deter others from murdering. It's not doled out consistently or fairly. It allows innocent men, woman and children to die for crimes they never committed. It claims to have regard for the mentally challenged but puts them to death as well. It's uncivilized and unbecoming of a fair, humane and judicial society.

    It's an act of revenge and a show of might, plain and simple.
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2012
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  14. Alistair Eurotrash

    Reading, UK
    I can give some reasons that I am against the death penalty.

    * I don't believe that a state should indulge in the premeditated killing of human beings and that doing so, I believe, brutalises a society.
    * It doesn't work as a deterrent
    * Mistakes are made (even in "obvious" cases)
    * It is often applied unfairly
    * It clogs up the legal system

    Might I want to seek vengeance if (for example) my daughter was brutally murdered? Yes, I'm almost sure I would - and I'd probably want to mete it out myself.

    That doesn't change my position, though.
  15. Freetofly

    Freetofly Diving deep into the abyss

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  16. Strange Famous

    Strange Famous it depends on who is looking...

    Ipswich, UK
    I agree with much of what you said, but I have one dispute and I will state it one line if you can answer it one or two lines.

    Who decides and how to they decide who are the "most unsavoury" murderers who are worthy of death?
  17. rogue49

    rogue49 Tech Kung Fu Artist Staff Member

    Again, the decision should be obvious...but since I said it can be rationalized either way.
    It should be you.
  18. redravin

    redravin Cynical Optimist Donor

    I have mixed feelings on the subject.
    I'm not adverse to putting a bullet in the head of someone who has committed mass killings but I have an issue with the criminal justice system.
    Blackstone's formulation tends to make sense to me.
    "Better that ten innocent men go free than that one innocent man suffer."

    This article pretty much proves that the death penalty is a dangerous thing and needs to end.

    Shocking Number Of Innocent People Sentenced To Death, Study Finds

  19. rogue49

    rogue49 Tech Kung Fu Artist Staff Member

    obvious is obvious.