OK... The Death Penalty...

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Re: OK... The Death Penalty...

Postby V.2 » Fri Dec 17, 2004 8:54 am

Loon wrote:
V.2 wrote:I'm not exactly offering an argument, so yes that's the sum of it.


This may be the issue. I assumed you were making a standalone arguement. So I'd rephrase my question to why present the list, and then offer the correlary of Grammy's list, attempting to make the point that the list doesn't present an effective reason to either oppose or support the death penalty.
Pardon my lack of clarity. Here's a summary of my position:

I oppose the death penalty in the US without exception, which I mostly consider irrelevant to this thread. That juveniles in the US can and do get sentenced to death is especially troubling. That said...

Even if we were all on the same page as to the meaning of social evolution, it's a dicey topic, and one has to be careful with dicey topics amongst skeptics. ;) Who's to say what cataclysmic shakeouts lie in mankind's future? Meek-will-inherit is a nice sentiment, but we'll see.

So, even though I'm harmonious with the OP, I'm not prepared to stake out a position. I simply wanted to offer some (blatantly relevant) facts for public consideration that support the OP to a debatable extent that is minimally greater than zero.

And then I was baffled that others dismissed the data as completely irrelevant.

Grammy's question is perfectly valid, but off-topic.
Last edited by V.2 on Fri Dec 17, 2004 4:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: OK... The Death Penalty...

Postby RCC » Fri Dec 17, 2004 3:05 pm

Loon wrote:
RCC:
I would assume that the death penalty would be a worse thing in a developing country. This is based directly on the assumption that developing countries have governments/prosecutors who have much more power than those in the US or UK as well as less of an interest in civil rights and due process, leading to greater miscarriages of justice (i.e., bogus convictions), and therefore a higher percentage of executions of innocents.


It would be worse by our standards, in that it would result in more mistaken executions, and I think that is the wrong way to look at it.

We have the resources to do things that they cannot. As of say 1880 the US could be said to be more or less a developing country, and we had the death penalty and nowhere near the respect for Constitutional right as is today. I'm not defending all executions in a developing country, rather that if we are to consider their system we must do so taking into account their resources and quality of life.

Let me throw out an illustration from the developing country's point of view, responding to a more developed country's criticism that it should never execute people:

pissed off third world diplomat wrote:
"We've got people dying all over the place of AIDS and other goofy shit (smallpox and influenza if we want to go back a bit in time). We have children starving in the streets, at best barely geting enough to eat, and like barely any tax revenue, and you asshat "developed country" where most of your people's biggest problem is too much food are going to skip in here and get all high and mighty and say we've got to take more food and clothing from our people and use it to keep some criminal fuck alive? Hell, you may think property crime is no big blister, but here a family who loses a plow or some food could starve. We can't just go down to Hardees and get a thickburger representing more than out average daily intake for an insignificant portion of our wealth. We can't go to wal-mart and get a cheap plow. This shit is important here!!

Anyway, if we were to keep him alive how do you jerks realize that shelter and enough food to be kept alive is considered a fantasy in these parts? Holy shit you people are stupid.

Then you say we maybe can kill murderers but only if we give them all kinds of trials and are willing to still keep him alive? Hell, it would be a strain to feed that many judges and lawyers not to mention educate them.

Fuck it. We're going Islamic.



Of course, if you can change the words in itallics for "more of our dear leaders video collection/palaces/solid gold dildoes" then we can switch labels from "developing" to "bullshit dictatorship" and go ahead and invade them if they happen to have oil....

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Postby viscousmemories » Fri Dec 17, 2004 6:30 pm

I just participated in a long thread about this at another forum, and I ended up changing my position from generally favoring the death penalty but being somewhat uneasy about how it's implemented in the US, to opposing it completely.

I agree with Luke that at the core this is a moral issue, and that data like which countries have abolished it doesn't help us answer that question. Yes, the Amnesty lists do demonstrate a global trend toward abolition, but as RCC pointed out that is a value-independent observation. It may be that the move away from capital punishment indicates a deterioration of values. We can't answer that until we swing back around and answer the question of whether the DP is ever morally justified.

Where I deviate from Luke's position somewhat is that I don't believe the DP is all about punishment; it's also about prevention. Not deterrence - as I agree that all the research I've seen indicates that the DP has no apparent deterrent effect on potential killers - but prevention. LWOP makes it highly unlikely that a person will ever kill again. The DP guarantees it.

With that said, I believe that it is morally wrong to kill someone unnecessarily. If we can be reasonably certain that a person who poses a particularly high risk to the safety of others can be segregated from society for life, I believe that's the option we should choose. Not only does it make us morally consistent in our cultural opposition to premeditated murder, but it could provide us the opportunity to study - and perhaps one day treat - sociopathy.

Or such is my position today... I continue to evolve. ;)

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Postby V.2 » Fri Dec 17, 2004 7:54 pm

viscousmemories wrote:I agree with Luke that at the core this is a moral issue
I agree that for many (including me) that subjective morality plays a big part. Discussing moral issues can be interesting and even enlightening, but debating them has always impressed me as not particularly useful. For instance, though I strongly favor a woman's right to choose, I accept right-to-life as a moral position, and see little purpose in debating against it.

By the same token, there are tangible issues -- such as deterrence and cost -- that must (in my view) factor into the moral equation.

It may be that the move away from capital punishment indicates a deterioration of values.
If that were true (and maybe it is, though I'm dubious), it would be interesting to understand why it is that the countries with DP tend not to be countries that are held in high regard according to western, democratic values.

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Postby viscousmemories » Fri Dec 17, 2004 10:08 pm

V.2 wrote:
viscousmemories wrote:I agree with Luke that at the core this is a moral issue
I agree that for many (including me) that subjective morality plays a big part. Discussing moral issues can be interesting and even enlightening, but debating them has always impressed me as not particularly useful. For instance, though I strongly favor a woman's right to choose, I accept right-to-life as a moral position, and see little purpose in debating against it.

By the same token, there are tangible issues -- such as deterrence and cost -- that must (in my view) factor into the moral equation.

I don't really get the distinction you're making. I think the question of whether abortion should be legal is every bit as much a moral question as whether people have an inalienable right to life, and because I believe morality is predominantly intersubjective (as you appear to agree) I wouldn't know where I stand on either issue without debating them.

V.2 wrote:
vm wrote: It may be that the move away from capital punishment indicates a deterioration of values.
If that were true (and maybe it is, though I'm dubious), it would be interesting to understand why it is that the countries with DP tend not to be countries that are held in high regard according to western, democratic values.

These lists were brought up in the other forum where I had this discussion too, and although some commented that many on the list of countries which have the death penalty are "third-world" countries with "barbaric" or "medieval" policies. Of course it was pointed out both there and here that the same could easily be said for many of the countries which had abolished the death penalty. So I maintain that there are no obvious correlations exposed by those lists.

The United States, Saudi Arabia and Japan are three of the richest countries in the world, and all three have the death penalty. What does that tell us? Nothing, necessarily.

Anyway I'm not really sure what the topic of this thread is. it just occurred to me (upon re-reading the thread) that RCC stipulated in the OP that in his opinion the death penalty is morally justified, but economically 'insane' and hence something many countries have "evolved beyond".

So while you and some others seem to be arguing that the death penalty is not morally justified (which can only be resolved by abolishing it) RCC seems to be suggesting only that we should "evolve beyond" such an expensive system (which could be resolved of course by making it more cost efficient).

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Re: OK... The Death Penalty...

Postby Loon » Mon Dec 20, 2004 4:09 am

V.2 wrote:Pardon my lack of clarity. Here's a summary of my position:

I oppose the death penalty in the US without exception


I find this qualification to be fairly interesting, though I suspect the justifcations are along the lines of what RCC's pissed off 3rd world diplomat said.

V.2 wrote:So, even though I'm harmonious with the OP, I'm not prepared to stake out a position. I simply wanted to offer some (blatantly relevant) facts for public consideration that support the OP to a debatable extent that is minimally greater than zero.


So my question then is "Why is this data relevant?"


Regarding the third world, I actually find that justification to be pretty solid for the first world, too, except that first world countries usually have very expensive judicial systems with all sorts of checks and balances in place, such that the cost of veryifying the legality/correctness of something through the system is far less than just putting the guy in jail for life.
I guess there he chose to err on the side of more votes. -Grammatron

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Re: OK... The Death Penalty...

Postby RCC » Mon Dec 20, 2004 2:41 pm

Loon wrote:

Regarding the third world, I actually find that justification to be pretty solid for the first world, too, except that first world countries usually have very expensive judicial systems with all sorts of checks and balances in place, such that the cost of veryifying the legality/correctness of something through the system is far less than just putting the guy in jail for life.


The difference between the 3rd/1st world is more than the wealth that makes a careful judical system and incarceration practical.

There is also the hard fact that due to medical care, better sanitation and better nutrition life in the "developed countries" is more certain and thus naturally has a higher value placed on it. I think this is the most central concept to what I am saying. It can be stated as thus:

The more likely a random member of a society is to die from a swift unforseen cause, the less that society will see the death penalty as a draconian measure.


While this is obvious as a descriptive concept, that one can find many examples of this in history and so forth, what I have been thinking is perhaps this is a concept that should be more than descriptive as to how a given society or group views punishment and that this should be part of the calculus of determining the nature of morality itself.

Where it gets weird is when the crime involved involves the purposeful taking of a life. That's when the value of life becomes a constant on both sides of the equation and this particular variable drops out of consideration except in one respect, that it still affects the idea of risk of mistake. It makes that risk more significant.


Thus, absent the creation of a flawless legal system, we can say that as the "value of life" approaches infinity, that the death penalty becomes immoral in all societies. I'd contend that in the United States, as we have banned the DP in all but these specific intent killings, that this is the item being struggled with.


Now, if we posit a flawless legal system, we have a stickier moral question, but if we also posit the big rock candy mountain... so why worry about it? Glass half full and all that...

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Postby Guest » Mon Dec 20, 2004 8:41 pm

What does the death penalty actually achieve and to what cost? Is it a viable deterrent but to what cost. Innocent lives by mistake?

Which type of person is more likely to be sent to death row?

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Postby Denise » Wed Dec 22, 2004 2:33 pm

http://www.cnn.com/2004/LAW/12/21/rape. ... index.html
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Postby Bottle or the Gun » Wed Dec 22, 2004 2:44 pm

Fluffy wrote:What does the death penalty actually achieve and to what cost? Is it a viable deterrent but to what cost. Innocent lives by mistake?

Which type of person is more likely to be sent to death row?

African-American, I believe.
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Postby Denise » Wed Dec 22, 2004 3:13 pm

And male, most with not much financial funds.

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Postby Pyrrho » Fri Dec 24, 2004 6:13 pm

In Honduras, a group opposing the death penalty just slaughtered 23 people. Should the perpetrators receive the death penalty? Damn right they should.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/12/ ... 2966.shtml
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Postby OckhamRules » Fri Dec 24, 2004 7:11 pm

Pyrrho wrote:In Honduras, a group opposing the death penalty just slaughtered 23 people. Should the perpetrators receive the death penalty? Damn right they should.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/12/ ... 2966.shtml


Only in Honduras?
AP) Unknown assailants opened fire on a public bus in northern Honduras late Thursday, killing at least 23 passengers and wounding 16 others, apparently many women and children, police said.


What about all the women and children the Bush administration has killed without provocation in Iraq?

You can't just hold people whose politics you disagree with responsible for the killing of innocents, but rationalize it as "just" for others.

I have no problem giving the death penalty to these Honduran terrorists...if you're consistent with all who order the deaths of innocent civilians, everywhere, regardless of the political ideology of perpetrators.

But, to the thread topic, too risky--too easy to make a mistake. I'm against it.

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Postby Doctor X » Fri Dec 24, 2004 11:55 pm

Wow, a rare triplet:

What about all the women and children the Bush administration has killed without provocation in Iraq?


Ipse dixit--and incorrect--argumentum ad misericordiam, but all a great big fast steaming non sequitur to Pyrrho's point.

I am not a big advocate for "keeping topics on point"--perhaps if I had the power to delete posts I do not like?--however, kindly keep to the Death Penalty and not trying to replay reams of debate on Iraq. To finish it off:

I have no problem giving the death penalty to these Honduran terrorists...if you're consistent with all who order the deaths of innocent civilians, everywhere, regardless of the political ideology of perpetrators.


Then you support the death penalty for Saddam. How did you plan to arrest him, stop his other crimes? Send a letter? Or are all of the "innocent women and children oh my" he killed irrelevant?

Finally, Clinton got a blow job . . . and lied about it!

But, to the thread topic, too risky--too easy to make a mistake. I'm against it.


Yeah . . . that is the problem. Of course, it is easy to advocate it in the "obvious" cases--such as confessed killers and country-western singers--but--and RCC can correct my "statistics"--methinks that is a small amount of DP cases.

What I would like to see on one of those "Crime Specials" is the ones who are proven. Barry "THERE, Mr. Fong!" Schek's Innocence Project which promoted the testing of DNA and has freed a number of people, has also proven the guilt of a few. According to an interview I saw, his project warns convicts seeking their help that, if they are actually guilty, the DNA evidence may utterly incriminate them! It appears he has gotten a few who just thought like you know DNA could look like someone else or otherwise fit the "Unclear on the Concept" title! Apparently, his project has proven a few this way! I would like to see one of those just for balance.

[Regarding irrelevant tangents.--Ed.]

Well . . . it is different when I do it. . . .

Clutches tiara. . . .

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Postby RCC » Sun Dec 26, 2004 3:46 pm

Doctor X wrote:
What I would like to see on one of those "Crime Specials" is the ones who are proven. Barry "THERE, Mr. Fong!" Schek's Innocence Project which promoted the testing of DNA and has freed a number of people, has also proven the guilt of a few. According to an interview I saw, his project warns convicts seeking their help that, if they are actually guilty, the DNA evidence may utterly incriminate them! It appears he has gotten a few who just thought like you know DNA could look like someone else or otherwise fit the "Unclear on the Concept" title! Apparently, his project has proven a few this way! I would like to see one of those just for balance.



My guess is that it is more than a few. The culture of incarceration often requires that the conviction be contested to the bounds of reason and far beyond into conspiracy.

A large part of what I do are these kinds of "cold case" type examination of serious past crimes. Often there is DNA evidence that turns up that can now be tested where it could not before. With rare exception the inmate claims this is the magic bullet that will finally prove the vast conspiracy to convict him, and with rare exception the DNA test comes back finding our boy's DNA all over the victim or whatever is consistent with guilt. Them, once again with rare exception, the inmate incorporates the falsification of DNA evidence into his "conspiracy by the state to ruin my life by all means possible or not."

Part of this is delusionary thinking forced by a great desire to get the fuck out of prison, but as I do this I am beginning to see that it is caused even more by some sort of weird peer pressure, that to tell me or Berry or whoever not to do the DNA testing is going to be seen as an admission not somuch to the system as to the boys on the yard (more likely in the law library) that you were really guilty and full of shit lo these many years.

(now THAT is a tangent...)

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Postby OckhamRules » Sun Dec 26, 2004 10:09 pm

Doctor X wrote:Wow, a rare triplet:

What about all the women and children the Bush administration has killed without provocation in Iraq?


Ipse dixit--and incorrect--argumentum ad misericordiam, but all a great big fast steaming non sequitur to Pyrrho's point.


Not really. Pyrrho's point (arguably OT) was to give people he considers terrorists the death penalty. My point was in direct response to that--if your tiara (very becoming, btw) slipped and you missed my point, it was..."consistency".

And, On topic, I have the same objection to the death penalty in general--it's inconsistently applied. Not all men convicted of killing pregnant women get sentenced to death--or even life in prison without parole.

Hardly fair application of the harshest penalty we have (i.e. is this what we can really call "justice"?). IMO, no, it isn't.

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Postby Doctor X » Mon Dec 27, 2004 2:08 am

RCC:

With rare exception the inmate claims this is the magic bullet that will finally prove the vast conspiracy to convict him, and with rare exception the DNA test comes back finding our boy's DNA all over the victim or whatever is consistent with guilt. Them, once again with rare exception, the inmate incorporates the falsification of DNA evidence into his "conspiracy by the state to ruin my life by all means possible or not."


Yeah! On ANOTHER BOARD [Boo. Hiss.--Ed.] there is an extreme conspiracy theorist. He just proposed that Nixon was:

1. Behind his own loss to Kennedy
2. To sucker Kennedy into the Vietnam War
3. Assassinated Kennedy to get Johnson
4. Then engineered his election.

To bad, apparently, Nixon could not spare any of these minions to handle Watergate!

Anyways, such rebuttals were sucked up into "the conspiracy." In a way, your description of the convicts reminds me of some who use to herald the Magic Flying Hat of Doom in 9/11--they had put so much emotional baggage into it that they could not admit they were wrong.

Add in family. They have spent the last ten-years convincing Ma that they did not rape the girl and it was "the man" who had nothing better to do but frame their ass.

O-R:

I have reported your post.

--J.D.

P.S. Yeah but you failed to appreciate that the crimes are different. One is war. The other is war crime. There is a significant difference. Adjust the tin foil a bit, and you should receive my mental images.

What do you mean you are "getting a blank?!"

P.P.S. What about "consistency?!" How ironic! Indeed, you can shoot your children because you want to continue an affair, and you do NOT get the death penalty. You can DROWN your children in a car . . . no death penalty. This is a problem. If I had a solution I would not be here.

Mandatory sentences threated more problems--I think--than they solve. I do wonder about leaving it up to juries to decide a recommendation of death, but "voted-in" judges can be just as clueless--more so in that they think themselves infallible.

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Postby OckhamRules » Mon Dec 27, 2004 3:19 am

Doctor X wrote:
P.S. Yeah but you failed to appreciate that the crimes are different.


Imo, you failed to appreciate that the crimes are the same.

(And, if Iraq doesn't work for you, try some of our actions--both covert and overt--elsewhere...Nicaragua, Iran, etc. where no war was declared at all and we -did- kill many civilians. Or, use Israel...vs. Palestinians on the West Bank/Gaza, or, if you prefer, in Chowtilla (sp?), Lebanon. There are so many many examples to choose from, examples where "terrorism" could be argued, albeit state-sponsored.

My point isn't to reargue Vietnam, Iraq, etc. My point is that the perception of "terrorism" is not above politics or ideology....and therefore lacks the consistency needed to fairly apply the death penalty in cases of "terrorism".

Mandatory sentences threated more problems--I think--than they solve. I do wonder about leaving it up to juries to decide a recommendation of death, but "voted-in" judges can be just as clueless--more so in that they think themselves infallible.


And, really digressing now,....in California the judge still has the authority to override the jury's sentence and give Peterson life in prison instead (he could not have done the reverse, though, he could not have made a "life" sentence into death).

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Postby Loon » Mon Dec 27, 2004 4:01 am

OckhamRules wrote:My point isn't to reargue Vietnam, Iraq, etc. My point is that the perception of "terrorism" is not above politics or ideology....and therefore lacks the consistency needed to fairly apply the death penalty in cases of "terrorism".


For the record, Pyrrho did not label the Honduras massacre as "terrorism," but rather "worthy of the death penalty." Arguing whether it is terrorism gets us into the whole bit of "what is terrorism."

Of course, if you want to avoid the word "terrorism" and say that the bus attack is morally equivalent (if not lacking the same bald-faced irony of anti-death penalty people killing innocents) to the deaths of civilians in Iraq, then we can do so.
I guess there he chose to err on the side of more votes. -Grammatron

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Postby Doctor X » Tue Dec 28, 2004 2:19 am

O-R:

Just to clean up:

Imo, you failed to appreciate that the crimes are the same.

(And, if Iraq doesn't work for you, try some of our actions--both covert and overt--elsewhere...[Snip!--Ed.]


The difference is intent--did the US intentionally target civiilians--cute orphans with lisps, pregnant women, et cetera? For the citations you gave that occurred decades ago, you have to go after those who fomented them--George the Younger was sleeping it off at the time!

Just to give a greater tangent, I have not read it yet--a collection of essays--but Christopher "A Little More Scotch" Hitchens supported/s what happened in Iraq but considers himself a "liberal" otherwise. For example, he made/helped make a documentary basically accusing Kissinger of being a war-criminal. He also has some nasty things to say about the religious and Mother Teresa. My point on that is it is an [Ipse dixit.--Ed.] example of a person who is not a "right-wing" or "blind Bush supporter" who would ignore attrocities.

You second part is on topic regarding the Death Penalty. I understand why the judge can overrule a recommendation for death: it is another "check" in the system. Whether or not it actually "works"--have to ask someone like RCC.

Can the system ever be "fair?"

Can it be "fair enough?"

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