A Conversation for The Death Penalty

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Post 1

Is mise Duncan

The death penalty is contrary to the convention on human rights - how can any nation be a signatory to this and yet have the death penalty?

By what mandate can the state take a life?


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Post 2

Wampus

Which convention? Where does it say "no countries shall institute a death penalty"? Is this a UN resolution? Is it in the Geneva conventions? Does it outlaw executions of all kinds, or just "cruel and unusual" methods of execution?

Please clarify.

Wampus


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Post 3

Is mise Duncan

http://www.h2g2.com/A224623

Article 3.
==========
Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.


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Post 4

Wampus

Is that always applicable to all persons, including those who have been convicted of crimes? With your argument, I could aruge that putting a convicted rapist in prison is depriving him of his liberty, violating the convention of human rights.


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Post 5

Blatherskite the Mugwump - Bandwidth Bandit

When someone violates those rights of others they lose their rights. If they cannot respect the rights of life, liberty, and security of person that everyone deserves, then they do not deserve them themselves.

Some people argue that the death penalty is a form of justice... "an eye for an eye" and all that. That argument is wrong. A Jeffrey Daumer cannot ever experience justice. How do you kill him forty-plus times? You don't. You do, however, make absolutely sure he never has the chance to do it again. You don't do it to hurt him, but to protect others. As long as he is alive, he has the capability to do it again... maybe he kills an inmate or a guard at the prison, maybe he makes an escape and indulges himself in even greater form than before. A farmer kills a coyote caught in the chicken coup because he knows it will get in again. Let's exercise the same good common sense and kill a few coyotes amongst us, and maybe the other coyotes will hear the shots and learn to stay away. In that way we protect the rights of life liberty, and security of person to the rest of the flock.


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Post 6

Zorpheus - I'm so hip I have difficulty seeing over my pelvis.

Thank you Colonel,
You summed up my argument a lot better then I could successfully articulated it.


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Post 7

Ormondroyd

I think your last sentence proved that, Zorpheus. smiley - winkeye


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Post 8

Mustache

If I interpret the main thrust of the Colonel's arguments correctly, he is saying that capital punishment should be enforced to prevent the possibility of the escape of a murderer.

I'm willing to bet that under capital punishment, there are more people who get put to death who don't deserve it (because they were innocent, or defended poorly in court, or detrimented in some other way by a flaw in the legal system) than there are criminals who escape from prison.

And if I interpret the other part of the argument correctly, he is saying that the death sentence might deter crime, too.

But if that's true, how come states that have banned the death penalty (like MA) do not have higher crime rates? The causes and deterrents of crime have their roots in complicated socioeconomic factors--like poverty--not the existence or non-existence of the death penalty.


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Post 9

Is mise Duncan

If you propose the death penalty for its deterent factor then at the very least it should be performed (executed..?) in public...possibly on live coast-to-coast television.
Most people think about it hardly at all. There should be adverts like the ones for drinking and driving...something like "Don't commit a homicide (especially if not middle class and white) or we'll kill you".


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Post 10

Horse with no name

I think a lot of people would appreciate that: in the middle-ages and later, it was quite usual to hang a man in a public space...

But if you ask my opinion, I'm against it; I mean against the the "Death show" (This would really be a nice name for it, ...?) AND against Death Penalty: because of the claassics reasons (You can't 'give' life back if there has been a mistake and so on...) but also becdause it's completely rotten: how can you try to explain to someone he mustnm't kill by killing him? Even if he did understand, it wouldn't be of any use to him.
If I'm ever murdered, put my murderer in jail if it pleases you, but don't go and cut his head off, I won't be better after that. (I'd like to enjoy some years of after-life without the man who sent me there)
But that's not a problem for I'm fortunately living in a country where death penalty has already been abolished.


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Post 11

Is mise Duncan

I agree - and it was the fact that it (the death penalty) is one of those things which was popular in the dark ages but we should have advanced past by now ... like slavery.

I too live in a country which has outgrown the death penalty and I hope never to have any of my tax money used to put people to death....I do _not_ consent to that.


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Post 12

Blatherskite the Mugwump - Bandwidth Bandit

Horse has missed the point behind my arguments...

"how can you try to explain to someone he mustnm't kill by killing him?" - How do you explain to someone he musn't kill by placing him in a nice quiet room, feeding him, and taking care of his every need? How do you protect the security of person to his fellow inmate who is just in on a minor theft charge from this psychopathic murderer? You do not teach the most violent criminals. You kill them to protect the rest.

"If I'm ever murdered, put my murderer in jail if it pleases you, but don't go and cut his head off, I won't be better after that." - This is the argument for justice. Once again, justice never enters into it. You can't get justice for a multiple murderer. But you can ensure he never does it again.

Ask yourself this question... what if I am accused of a minor crime, and am sentenced to prison for it? Maybe it's something you did accidentally, maybe something you did in a fit of passion, or maybe it's something you never did. Would you care to share a cell block with Jeffrey Daumer? How safe would you feel then? Then, when you're done with that, consider the statistics on how many violent crimes are committed by repeat offenders. Prisons don't reform, they just turn out better criminals. They aren't prisons, they're Crime Universities. And if you don't solve the problem permanently, they either kill behind bars (where you'll likely never hear about it, so you can still feel safe and cozy about it) or they eventually get out to do it all again. With prison overcrowding the way it is now, almost everybody gets out sooner or later. Charles Manson would have been out ages ago if he didn't keep shooting himself in the foot at the parole hearings... one time he even said he couldn't be bothered to be let out because he had too much to do, like working on a book and his website.

Yes, the system has flaws, but just because it has flaws doesn't mean it should be discarded. They say a non-white is more likely to be killed for the same crime... who selects the juries? Is the defense attorney allowing an all-white jury for a non-white? I highly doubt it. Take a look at the OJ Simpson trial... that jury was almost entirely non-white. Where I live, white is a minority, so you're not too likely to get an all-white jury here. Every single member of that jury must agree that there is not a shred of credible evidence for acquittal before sentencing can even be considered. If there is a problem here, it is in the jury selection process. We have a saying here: "A jury is made up of 12 people too stupid to get out of jury duty."

They're in the process of fixing the process, and with so many companies starting to pay wages while an employee is off serving on a jury, the most popular excuse is going away. In the meantime, the appeals process is so long and arduous that the only place you actually see anyone getting executed is in Texas. And, well, they're Texans.


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Post 13

Is mise Duncan

I may have misread that - the death penalty to improve the safety of non-murderer prisoners?

OK - so who draws the line between a capital crime and a non capital crime? In China you can recieve the death penalty for a range of crimes from corruption to dereliction of duty...in one case a man was executed fro falling asleep at a level crossing and thus causing a fatal accident through his negligence...although in fairness to DP, he didn't do it again.


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Post 14

Xedni Deknil

"taking care of his every need"

Yes. That's all prison is. A big all-expenses-paid holiday. Let's all go!


And another thing...

Post 15

Is mise Duncan

The death penalty is one of the essential ingredients to having an effective dictatorship.
Control the media, kill your opponents etc.


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Post 16

Blatherskite the Mugwump - Bandwidth Bandit

Duncan: you did not misread that. If someone commits a minor crime, they deserve to be punished for it, but placing them near a Jeffrey Daumer consitutes cruel and unusual punishment. I mean, really, potential death for tax fraud? Who hasn't wanted to commit tax fraud?

Who decides the punishments? The society. In a democratic society, the people will set punishments through their elected representatives. As China is not democratic, the government does it. But just because China can't administer capital punishment doesn't mean everyone should stop. The Japanese can't make good television, but that doesn't mean everyone should give up television. smiley - winkeye

Xedni: I recommend you watch the movie "The Shawshank Redemption" before continuing that particular topic drift. It's an excellent study of the phenomenon of institutionalization, which occurs when people are taken care of and don't have to make decisions. It's one reason criminals keep committing crimes, and its also one reason why people choose the military as a career.


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Post 17

Is mise Duncan

The US has an election next week in which you can choose between the guy in the dark grey suit and the guy in the battleship grey suit; in every major policy way they are exactly the same....at least the Chinese are honest enough to admit they don't have a democracy.

Surely the solution to prison security problems is more secure prisons, with one person per cell?


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Post 18

Gwennie

One prison cell per inmate would be very expensive. So is prison and as someone has already pointed out, as is keeping prisoners on death row whilst their respective appeals wind their way through a legal system.

Has anyone considered that were people given access to a better education, a less impoverished standard of living and adequate free health care (with regard to those who commit murder that are suffering from mental illnesses), there may be a reduction in crime and murders?

With imprisonment and the death penalty, the symptoms are being "treated" but the cause of the malaise is not.

I live in the UK where thankfully the death penalty has been abolished although every few years or so, its reinstatement is brought before our Parliament.

My husband is pro-death penalty because of the chances of murderers re-offending, whilst I am against, so we have some very interesting discussions from time to time. smiley - winkeye

I believe that the taking of life is wrong and uncivilised (unless it is an assisted suicide for someone who is terminally ill and in pain). Also, the fact that even one mistake could be made, in executing an innocent person means that the death penalty should not exist.


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Post 19

Hyena

In one post I read "Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person."
In another post, I read someone saying that doesn't apply to people who deny other people those rights.

Then by that reasoning, nobody has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

If a single person here can say they have never disturbed anyone's life, liberty, or security in any way, they're either lying, or they can't remember. Chances are that we have done this in ways that we can't tell.

I think everyone's capable of everything. The most peaceful person in the world is capable of killing many innocent people.
The difference between someone who actually goes through with it is just a extremely weak self-control. Or maybe a variable that can drastically change their judgement at critical times, such as anger, extreme stress, a mental unbalance.
Nobody has never been extremely angry, stressed, or "out of it". Sometimes other people unfortunately are victimized by it.

Many are plagued by guilt, others may be incapable of remorse, some are just good at hiding it. We really can't tell. We can't read someone's mind. And if we could, it doesn't tell us what's going to be on their mind the next day.

Capital punishment is not punishment. It's just the government's idea of a simple solution. Killing murderers might not sound so bad, but murderers aren't any worse than the people they kill.

I don't believe I'm better than anyone. And I don't believe anyone's better than me. Even if it was true, how would I know?
Can we decide what sort of person someone is by the four seconds of their life they do something really bad?
And can we eternally punish someone, by the decision we make from that tiny segment of their very very complicated life?

In the words of Thomas Edison, "We don't know a millionth of one percent about anything."
We don't even know a millionth of one percent about ourselves, let alone another person. Are we therefore so arrogant as to believe we should kill people for the sort of person they are? After all, what people do is just a small reflection of part of who someone is.


Rights

Post 20

Two Bit Trigger Pumping Moron

No rights are absolute. Society withdraws some rights after due consideration. For some crimes we confine a person and deny them the right to travel. For some crimes we deny voting rights, and the right to own a firearm. For a very few crimes we may demand the ultimate price.

For minor crimes, there's no reason to suspend your 'rights to life, liberty, and the security of person.'

BTW, I'm not sure what this right to 'security of person' business is. In America, I belive it is meant to be the 'pursuit of happiness'.


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