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Death Penalty

 
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xAndyx
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PostPosted: 03.16.2005 8:52 pm    Post subject: Death Penalty Reply with quote

Following the recent announcement that Scott Peterson has been sentenced of death, I was wondering how all of you feel about the death penalty, and if it is a righteous form of justice.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 03.16.2005 11:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't believe capital punishment is an effective deterrent. I don't believe in state-sanctioned murder. I don't believe a man forfeits his rights when he violates the rights of others. I don't believe governments have the moral authority to assume the right to kill criminals.



I believe in the sanctity of life. I believe the punishments a society employs say more about the society than about the guilty.



I believe the death penalty is vengeance, not justice.



Eric
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 03.18.2005 2:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the practicality of a system is proof of its moral positive, and if the death penalty could be shown to be a deterrent to crime I would support it. Unfortunately, the statics between crime and capital punishment is ambiguous at best. Worse, every single person I?ve ever encountered who staunchly supports the death penalty is guilty of dehumanizing those on death row, which immediately indicates to me that their camp relates to the issue from an emotional level rather than a rational -- practical -- one; so for them it?s ?vengeance, not justice,? as Eric put it, and state-sanctioned vengeance strikes me as a social debilitation. In fact, I used to support the death penalty, but the rhetoric from that side made me question my conviction.
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Monkeypox
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PostPosted: 03.18.2005 2:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think one has to be emotional to support the death penalty. In fact, I believe people on both sides of the argument are given to too much REACTION and too little thought.



Now, whether or not capital punishment is effective is dependent on the SYSTEM in which it's placed. Do I believe in our current system? No. Do I believe capital punishment can be a useful means of punishment? Yes.



I personally don't think there's much of a difference keeping a person in a cage for 8 consecutive LIFE sentences and sentencing them to death. It then becomes a matter of efficacy. Capital punishment does not appear to be a deterrent. Unfortunately, neither does prison time, so this alone does not seem to be a solid argument AGAINST capital punishment, unless we think people should just not be punished at all for committing crimes.



Now, I don't mind anarchy, but we're a little too lazy and noncommital of a society for that.
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 03.18.2005 5:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Monkeypox wrote:
Capital punishment does not appear to be a deterrent. Unfortunately, neither does prison time, so this alone does not seem to be a solid argument AGAINST capital punishment, unless we think people should just not be punished at all for committing crimes.




On the contrary, I know some people who have spent time in prison and then shaped-up to avoid going back. Furthermore, lifetime sentences keeps those who are unreceptive to rehabilitation off the streets, while retaining the idea of the sanctity of their life (I fully support three-strikes laws). Therein seems to lie difference between the death penalty and perminent incarceration.



Monkeypox wrote:
In fact, I believe people on both sides of the argument are given to too much REACTION and too little thought.




So do I, but that fact doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the preferability or effectiveness of one option over the other.



Monkypox wrote:
I personally don't think there's much of a difference keeping a person in a cage for 8 consecutive LIFE sentences and sentencing them to death. It then becomes a matter of efficacy.




It may not detract individuals from crimes, but it may send a positive psychological and moral message to a culture or society as a whole about the value of life, even the life of the most problematic of the lot.



Monkeypox wrote:
Do I believe in our current system? No. Do I believe capital punishment can be a useful means of punishment? Yes.




Useful in what way?



Monkeypox wrote:
Now, I don't mind anarchy, but we're a little too lazy and noncommital of a society for that.




Laughing
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Monkeypox
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PostPosted: 03.18.2005 8:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You knowing some people who have gone to prison and receiving some kind of benefit from it doesn't change the overwhelming statistics that point to the contrary. People in prison become slightly better criminals, and usually much more physically dangerous ones. Prison naturally decreases one's ability to get any kind of gainful employment, and they revert back to a life of crime. Many times, prison time only serves to reduce their fear of prison.



No punishment of any kind, prison time or other, will act as a deterrent to crime.



And the criminal shooting the clerk at the liquor store in the face in order to steal the money isn't debating whether or not there's a valuable lesson for them to learn from our justice system. I would argue their needs to be a little more immediate.
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 03.18.2005 8:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not arguing that there's more to a crime than the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of the punishment of its commission as a social deterrent. But the point of my posts was that there is a pragmatic reason for imprisonment, but not an apparent one, statistically and socially speaking, for the death penalty.
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Monkeypox
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PostPosted: 03.18.2005 9:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

the night watchman wrote:
I'm not arguing that there's more to a crime than the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of the punishment of its commission as a social deterrent. But the point of my posts was that there is a pragmatic reason for imprisonment, but not an apparent one, statistically and socially speaking, for the death penalty.




It prevents that particular person from being a further threat. If the death penalty weren't so ungodly expensive, I might consider it a better option, if not just to clear prison space. I think it had more merit when the alternative was something like 15 to life, and you had murderers getting out of prison, murdering again, going back to prison, etc.



None of the options make us a safer society. It's the illusion people want, and most of them like the illusion that the death penalty gives them, as shown in polls. IN the end, I don't personally mind its presence or its absence from our law, but, as long as its there, then I have no problem with it being used. I know that a possible consequence to me throwing my parents in the chipper-shredder is being sentenced to death (and I live in Texas, so it's a pretty good shot), so I have to accept that should I choose to do so.



And I have no interest in changing the law, since I think there's about 6,000 issues more important (like decriminalizing marijuana* to reduce the burden on our justice system) to me. And alas, I'm only an armchair anarchist.



Now, as for the Peterson case, it's ludicrous. Quite frankly, I didn't feel they ever presented enough evidence in the case to even convict the guy, much less sentence him to death. This is a perfect example of the type of justice system failures that put innocent people in the electric chair. Now, it just so happens that this guy is probably guilty, I BELIEVE he's guilty, but I don't think the prosecution PROVED it. But, I wasn't on the jury, which is probably a good thing for the world in this ONE case, but a bad thing for the justice system in general.



Then you've got Blake, who had a ton more evidence against him than Peterson ever had, and he's a free man. WHY? Well, because one victim was a "no-account grifter" and the other one was young, pretty, and most importantly, pregnant.



California is messed up. Everybody in the world wants to believe Jacko is a sick, perverted bastard, and they can't even put up a half-credible witness to help us along.





* for the record, this isn't so much a personal interest to me as you might think, me being a filmmaker and all. since the tunnel, i only smoke an occasional camel light or clove... boring, i know
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 03.18.2005 3:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Monkeypox wrote:


It prevents that particular person from being a further threat. If the death penalty weren't so ungodly expensive, I might consider it a better option, if not just to clear prison space. I think it had more merit when the alternative was something like 15 to life, and you had murderers getting out of prison, murdering again, going back to prison, etc.




Yes, but life imprisonment prevents them from being a further threat as well, and an individual who receives a life sentence in place of the death penalty isn't going to be in and out again.



Monkeypox wrote:
California is messed up.




Yeah, well our governor can beat up your governor.
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Last edited by the night watchman on 03.18.2005 7:26 pm; edited 1 time in total
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xAndyx
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PostPosted: 03.18.2005 5:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For me it is a toss up. I was born in a conservative family and have fairly liberal beliefs, so I sway back and forth on certain issues. As far as the death penalty works I do not believe in taking a persons life on any occasion, but I see the problems our prison system is undergoing, and understand why people would view it as an equal and cheaper alternative to solving the same problem. I see how it is impossible to reform these people in any case because they will not be getting out of prison, except under rare circumstances, but I feel the person has a moral conviction to reform on his own, and we should not limit any person from that. We have to install in any person that what they did was wrong, and while killing people who commit the crime may restrict others from repeating it, it still does not correct the mental imbalance that is found in many murderers and other criminals. It is impossible to stop murder, except in Minority Report, and we need to correct things in society that are causing people to act in this way rather than just killing everyone before we get answers. While nothing justifies what they have done, we may begin to better understand the psyche of criminals and discover what has caused them to act in such violent ways.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 03.18.2005 8:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

xAndyx wrote:
I see the problems our prison system is undergoing, and understand why people would view it as an equal and cheaper alternative to solving the same problem.


Equal? I'd say there's a huge ethical gulf between sentencing death and sentencing life imprisonment. There's also something incongruous about punishing an act of violence with another act of violence--how can we ask a population to respect life if our very laws promote institutionalized savagery? To my mind, our laws should practice and model civility, not indulge the public's bloodlust.



Cheaper? I don't have them readily available, but the statistics I've encountered suggest the opposite, especially when we factor in legal costs. Besides, I summarily reject any argument predicated upon budgets. I can't argue that keeping prisoners alive for a lifetime is expensive, but it's simply unethical to put a dollar figure on a human life, even a criminal one.



Eric
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xAndyx
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PostPosted: 03.19.2005 11:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:
Equal? I'd say there's a huge ethical gulf between sentencing death and sentencing life imprisonment.




I didn?t mean it in that way. I meant equal as in you are equally achieving the same perpous of taking criminals off the streets. I would not ever say it is equal ethically. Like I said, I do not agree with the death penalty ethically, I can simply understand their point of view.



beltmann wrote:
Cheaper? I don't have them readily available, but the statistics I've encountered suggest the opposite, especially when we factor in legal costs.




If it is the case that keeping prisoners alive is cheaper than sentencing them to death then I would not support capital punishment under any circumstances. Its hard for me to see how it would be more expensive, but if that is the case than there is nothing that could outweigh my ethical beliefs that no one has the right to take someone?s life. I thought it was a much greater sum to keep them alive, but I guess I was wrong.
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