Do you believe in Capital Punishment?
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02-09-2011, 08:27 AM
RE: Do you believe in Capital Punishment?
(02-09-2011 12:08 AM)blasphemy fan Wrote:  1) A "lifer" convict will only cost the taxpayers an incredible amount of money to keep imprisoned for up to 50 or 60 years. Our gov has to pay all the medical for them from tax dollars, and they get better medical, dental, optical than most honest, working Americans today!
Two things: Why are prisons so expensive? Nobody seems to ask.
And how many lifers are waiting for appeal and exonerating evidence? You don't care.
- A third thing is incidental: That's a helluva comment on your health-care system.

Quote:2) They ... will victimize anyone they can inside those prison walls for the rest of their useless lives. Lesser offenders, who may have had some hope of reforming, probably will not, they will learn to be even more violent, because that's what was required for their own survival in prison....
Americans - according to the entertainment industry - are quite complacent about this. Prisons are run by the meanest inmates, while warden and guards stand idly by - so what?

Quote:Terminate the lifers, and the killers / serial killers, when the FBI psychologists are done studying them. Or, even better, use them for medical research! ( or crash test dummies ) Then, at least, their lives will not have been an entire waste! I believe that our gov is too leanient on violent offenders / hardened criminals. Gang bangers on the outside know that they can live like kings on the inside, with their fellow gang members....

This is the crux. This is the social consequence i was talking about. The disconnect; the alienation; the the us-them mentality.
Middle-class, especially better-off, especially white, people increasingly move into gated compounds - communities - where the law exists to serve them and against some other, alien class of criminals, killers, gang-bangers. No idea of how law is administered at street-level; no idea of entrapment, false or forced confession, malicious prosecution, tainted evidence, lousy defense, prejudiced judges and juries. No idea why any young man is in a gang, or how someone might be pushed and goaded into killing a cop. No idea.
Until your kid is arrested at a political rally or rock concert, or your car is pulled over by mistake, or your house tossed because a cop can't read too good.

Quote:...Our legal system has been left without a leg to stand on in our fight against crime. ...

Your legal system is what the voters, their legislators, their jurists and enforcement agencies make it. And it should be applied equally to all the citizens.

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02-09-2011, 08:34 AM
 
RE: Do you believe in Capital Punishment?
(02-09-2011 07:34 AM)Lilith Pride Wrote:  Which is mercy Zatamon? Death or extended punishment? If someone is going to live their life in a cell or die, it's hard to say which is actually worse.

Lilith this is a valid point. I know, if given a chance, I would choose death.

Quote:I am simply discussing things through a societal needs view. The health of those who are not even allowed to contribute to society means little as compared to those who are more capable of contributing. A lifer is never going to help society again, society should not help the lifer. Yeah it's cold and yeah it would be upsetting to happen to know one, but cold i part of life. Existence is not generally about compassion and fairness

From a purely pragmatic vantage point, again, you are right.

Quote:Humans desire compassion and fairness but often existence is simply about survival. In the world of survival a man who went against the group would be killed, you know why? his actions might kill everyone.


That is also possible, the prisoner may escape and kill again.

Quote:We just happen to live a life of comforts after transcending the survivalist system. Now we can see someone committing those same acts as only being in need of a lesson.


No, execution is not a lesson. I love the euphemism of “Capital Punishment” – it is not a punishment in the usual sense. It is not a fine, it is like closing an account.

Quote:There are small crimes and large crimes. I am not an advocate of very much across the board and not an advocate for extreme punishment, (to me death is more a relief than a punishment) but it is truly a question which is better served.

Is a man who has been committed to prison for his entire life going to be better dead or alive? and along with that which will help those not committed to prison?

If a man in his 20's is sentenced to life imprisonment without a chance for parole (whole life not 20 years) is it just to expect the entire community to support this person as long as he continues to breathe?


Again, you are being pragmatic and I have no argument against pragmatic considerations.

Quote:It is indeed unjust to leave prisoners in squalor while alive and let them gain diseases due to rarely being fed and getting no medical attention. But if they can die then it's a different question.

Now morality starts creeping in – are we trying to be ‘just’ to murderers?

Quote:A death administered as painlessly as possible is still giving someone as many rights as possible while alive while still seeking further benefit to society than to an individual who has committed too much of a crime.


Compassion has arrived – we don’t want to torture, only to kill painlessly. Fair enough (no medical experiments? – ultimate pragmatism.)

Quote:Yes sometimes crimes are arbitrary, but once you are given a life imprisonment it doesn't matter how arbitrary the decision is it has completely changed your life. Even 20 years is often a nonredeemable loss. Plenty of young people go to prison and make it out only to see the outside world as worse than prison
.

I am not sure what you mean “crimes are arbitrary”?

Quote:There are points in life where things are already taken too far. What's the difference in which expression of too far we take?


Again I am not sure what you mean by this.

Quote:Prisons are shown to more often engender criminalization than reformation. When we commit a person to years of imprisonment we are telling them to be a criminal, that's how the world views them. And often enough that's exactly how they begin to see the world as it is constantly reinforced within the system.

Again, the pragmatic approach.

Quote:I'm not going to say that prison life is hell. it's actually a pretty simple world to live in once you get accustomed. I've never been but I've discussed it with plenty of people who have. I don't think I'd survive but that's because I'm a bit too female to be sent to a cell full of men.


Hell is a very personal concept, we all define it differently. You defined it for yourself here. I know it would be hell for me, for other reasons, and I would choose death rather than incarceration for more than a year. Do not define it for everyone here.

Quote:The issue with prison is that it stays the same as the world changes. When a person who has been imprisoned for even 5 years comes out they are excessively far beyond the progress that has happened during their departure from the modern world.


Again, completely true.

Quote:The hope of parole exists even in those who feel accustomed to prison, the issue with this hope is that if the outside world is seen as more of a prison then there i no reason to hope again.

Even condemned men are human after all – they can’t live without hope.

I tried to answer your post point by point and, as I said, I have no arguments against your pragmatic considerations. Even using them in medical experiments and as crash-test dummies would make sense from the practical point of view.

Why do I recoil from the idea with horror then?

I am a scientist with a rational mind, why can’t I just accept the practical?

Two reasons:

1./ Our aim should be removing the cause rather than suppressing the symptom. Why not try to make our world less crazy-making, improving the judicial system to be less corrupt and downright racist, keep condemned men in safe, secure and humane prisons while keeping the option open that they may be innocent after all. If we stopped all the crime at the top (wars, genocide, arms buildup, corporate bailouts, etc) we could afford to be better evolved human beings when it comes to crime.

2./ We make mistakes all the time and this kind of mistake is not redeemable. Stalin is on record saying “it is better to punish a hundred innocent people than letting one guilty get away.” For me the idea of an innocent man punished (let alone killed), is so horrendous that I would rather let a hundred guilty get away than punish an innocent. Not very pragmatic, I know, but I can’t help it.

I can't help thinking about how I would feel if one of my children got into trouble, got arrested, framed for murder and then executed for pragmatic reasons.

I don't think I would like it.

@blasphemy_fan: I have another practical idea: why not use the bodies of executed prisoners for compulsory organ donation -- I bet the number of executions would go through the roof? Better yet, use the rest of their bodies for dog-food -- think of all that wasted protein! Maybe we are already doing it? I am not current on these innovations!
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02-09-2011, 09:44 AM
RE: Do you believe in Capital Punishment?
If you were to execute people simply because they would cost too much in prison to keep for life......are you then not putting a price on life itself???

In america some prisons are profitable.......they have a workforce that attends everyday, they pay pittance of wages and they float there stocks on the markets.......maybe a price has allready been put on life allready Sad

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02-09-2011, 10:30 AM (This post was last modified: 02-09-2011 10:41 AM by Lilith Pride.)
RE: Do you believe in Capital Punishment?
Being in need of a lesson is talking about sitting them in a cell for 20 years or more not executing them.

Crimes are arbitrary can mean they are current social conventions like illegal drugs. not all convictions are made on grounds that will continue to be considered so heinous.

The discussion of prison being hell was a comment that it's not a horrendous torture with ne respite all the time. Like I may have been making it sound.

The discussion of morals is because within our current society we cannot avoid the human desire for some sort of moral guideline.

Life always has a price, capitalism exists due to that fact.
I also stated that the system in itself is flawed. but as it currently stands nothing will change. If it becomes the machine it is supposed to be then either it will be deemed effective or people will find a new one. The current judicial system is a pack of lies and redirects which convinces people that it's actually doing something. I may be overly opinionated on this but I feel that a disingenuous system of reform is a pointless contraption. If death were on the table it would either prove effective or people would come up with a new system. As it stands no one complains that rather nice people get sent somewhere for large portions of their life to be tortured and abused. When you talk about blaming the innocent and hurting the innocent they are hurt either way. As I mentioned previously I don't consider death a horrible thing so that is very much a defining characteristic in my argument which most will not agree with.

the current system is a form of living death where a person is forced into a small form of existential living and no longer has the capability to fully interact with the community they were removed from.

I'm not a non believer, I believe in the possibility of anything. I just don't let the actuality of something be determined by a 3rd party.
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02-09-2011, 12:00 PM
RE: Do you believe in Capital Punishment?
I believe in the judicious application of capital punishment, but for slightly different reasons than the ones I have read so far. I'll try to explain them, please be patient with me, I am not the most eloquent individual.

I believe humans need a society to survive and thrive. That's why we evolved as social beings, one person alone in the wilderness has very few chances of survival. I also believe that belonging to a society is a privilege, not a right, and that each member has the duty to contribute to the good functioning of that society. If a society doesn't feel a member is productive, in fact, if he's being highly disruptive and dangerous to that society, the other members have every right to take measures against that person. In older times, that person would have been cast out, and with all probability would have slowly starved to death, be killed by the elements or by wild animals, or died of sickness. Today we can't do that any more. So here we have an individual who, by his own choices and actions, has forfeited his right to be a part of that society. We have the need of the society to remove that individual and put him in the condition to do no more harm. But why should the society pay him room and board and health care for years? That person obviously wouldn't do anything good for other members of the society, since he seemed interested only in killing them. And like it or not, society is based on reciprocity. So why should a society care for the upkeep and well being of someone who has no interest in the well being of that society?
Personally I don't subscribe to the concept of "sanctity of life". I don't think life has any intrinsic value. Obviously the individual values his own life out of survival instinct. But whether or not everybody else around him values is life, in my opinion is dependent on that person's actions. I certainly think a society is much better off placing a high value in life, but I don't see life having infinite value.
So this is why I am in favor of capital punishment. I don't think it's a deterrent, as crime statistics show us. I don't think it has retribution value since nothing, not even the death of the killer can give you back the person you lost. I don't even think it's a strictly monetary issue. For me it's a philosophical issue deeply related to what it means to be a society.

English is not my first language. If you think I am being mean, ask me. It could be just a wording problem.
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02-09-2011, 12:11 PM
 
RE: Do you believe in Capital Punishment?
(02-09-2011 12:00 PM)sy2502 Wrote:  I don't think it's a deterrent, as crime statistics show us. I don't think it has retribution value since nothing, not even the death of the killer can give you back the person you lost. I don't even think it's a strictly monetary issue. For me it's a philosophical issue deeply related to what it means to be a society.

Sy, you have not addressed my 2 points at the bottom of my last post -- I will repeat them here:

Quote:1./ Our aim should be removing the cause rather than suppressing the symptom. Why not try to make our world less crazy-making, improving the judicial system to be less corrupt and downright racist, keep condemned men in safe, secure and humane prisons while keeping the option open that they may be innocent after all. If we stopped all the crime at the top (wars, genocide, arms buildup, corporate bailouts, etc) we could afford to be better evolved human beings when it comes to crime.

2./ We make mistakes all the time and this kind of mistake is not redeemable. Stalin is on record saying “it is better to punish a hundred innocent people than letting one guilty get away.” For me the idea of an innocent man punished (let alone killed), is so horrendous that I would rather let a hundred guilty get away than punish an innocent. Not very pragmatic, I know, but I can’t help it. I can't help thinking about how I would feel if one of my children got into trouble, got arrested, framed for murder and then executed for pragmatic reasons. I don't think I would like it.


@Lilith: Thank you for the clarifications, now I understand you better.
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02-09-2011, 12:30 PM
RE: Do you believe in Capital Punishment?
(02-09-2011 12:00 PM)sy2502 Wrote:  I believe in the judicious application of capital punishment, but for slightly different reasons than the ones I have read so far.

Actually, your stand is close to mine, but based on different assumptions.

Quote:....If a society doesn't feel a member is productive, in fact, if he's being highly disruptive and dangerous to that society, the other members have every right to take measures against that person. In older times, that person would have been cast out, and with all probability would have slowly starved to death, be killed by the elements or by wild animals, or died of sickness.

Some Native Americans still practice this form of correction. If the disruptive individual survives alone for a specified period, he ca apply for re-admission. The rationale, of course, is that he's had a chance to realize how much he needs the society and that it's worth his while to earn membership.


Quote: Today we can't do that any more. So here we have an individual who, by his own choices and actions, has forfeited his right to be a part of that society.

If the charge is true; if the law is just; if the individual attacked without extreme provocation; if the legal procedure was carried out according to the wishes of the majority.

And you are still talking about a coherent and healthy society, not a fragmented, screwed-up one that's constantly at war within itself. A good deal of the crime in America is class or ethnic or ideological warfare, mislabeled.

I think Lillith is right: the present system is so badly damaged, it can't be reformed; needs to be torn down an replaced. But the judicial system also an expression - a big, loud, illustrated expression - of a nation's attitudes and values and psychological condition. How well or badly criminal justice works is a reflection of how well or badly the society works.

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02-09-2011, 12:55 PM
RE: Do you believe in Capital Punishment?
(02-09-2011 12:11 PM)Zatamon Wrote:  
(02-09-2011 12:00 PM)sy2502 Wrote:  I don't think it's a deterrent, as crime statistics show us. I don't think it has retribution value since nothing, not even the death of the killer can give you back the person you lost. I don't even think it's a strictly monetary issue. For me it's a philosophical issue deeply related to what it means to be a society.

Sy, you have not addressed my 2 points at the bottom of my last post -- I will repeat them here:

Quote:1./ Our aim should be removing the cause rather than suppressing the symptom. Why not try to make our world less crazy-making, improving the judicial system to be less corrupt and downright racist, keep condemned men in safe, secure and humane prisons while keeping the option open that they may be innocent after all. If we stopped all the crime at the top (wars, genocide, arms buildup, corporate bailouts, etc) we could afford to be better evolved human beings when it comes to crime.

2./ We make mistakes all the time and this kind of mistake is not redeemable. Stalin is on record saying “it is better to punish a hundred innocent people than letting one guilty get away.” For me the idea of an innocent man punished (let alone killed), is so horrendous that I would rather let a hundred guilty get away than punish an innocent. Not very pragmatic, I know, but I can’t help it. I can't help thinking about how I would feel if one of my children got into trouble, got arrested, framed for murder and then executed for pragmatic reasons. I don't think I would like it.

I am sorry I didn't know I had to address all your points.
1) I don't see how arms buildup or corporate bailouts correlate to crime, and specifically to serious crime like serial killers. Usually the most heinous crimes are done by individuals with severe personality disorders: psychopaths, pedophiles, sociopaths, etc. These are people who are either born that way, or something really traumatic has happened in their life, like many years of abuse. These are individual circumstances that will happen.
I certainly agree that some factors, like healthy economy, social support, and education help with problems like gang violence. And of course prevention is always better than dealing with after the fact. But I am a bit too practical to believe the pie-in-the-sky that we can have a 100% crime free society if only we .... (insert magic pill).

2) Yes mistakes can happen. No, no system is entirely fool proof. But I don't agree that we should be so scared of making a mistake that we are frozen solid into complete inactivity. We have the duty as a society to do the best job we possibly can. Do you think throwing an innocent man in jail for the rest of his life, to be surrounded by creeps, maybe beaten or sexually assaulted, is a good thing? So what, since we may make such mistake, we don't send anybody to jail? Odd logic.

English is not my first language. If you think I am being mean, ask me. It could be just a wording problem.
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02-09-2011, 01:07 PM
 
RE: Do you believe in Capital Punishment?
(02-09-2011 12:55 PM)sy2502 Wrote:  1) I don't see how arms buildup or corporate bailouts correlate to crime

All I was trying to say is that the monetary argument is ridiculous in view of what society spends billions on. We could afford to be an evolved society if we got our priorities right.

Quote:2) Yes mistakes can happen. No, no system is entirely fool proof. But I don't agree that we should be so scared of making a mistake that we are frozen solid into complete inactivity.

I did not recommend 'frozen' or 'inactivity'. Why does it have to be either one extreme or the other? I recommended caution and prudence: don't kill people who may be innocent. Now that DNA testing is available, so many prosecutions have been overturned -- little consolation to those who have been executed before their innocence could be established.

It does not take too much effort (or money) to make safeguards. Why is it assumed that prisons have to be torture chambers, compared to which death is a favour? We are supposed to be a resourceful species, we could be both safe and intelligent. We could afford to be wise, even (dare I say?) compassionate. We have the billions being spent on (insert long list here).

But, of course, if we don't care and go the path of the most comfort and the cheapest solution then, what the hell, if a few innocents have to be murdered for our convenience, it is a small price to pay -- as long as it is not me or my loved ones.
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02-09-2011, 02:19 PM
RE: Do you believe in Capital Punishment?
(02-09-2011 01:07 PM)Zatamon Wrote:  
(02-09-2011 12:55 PM)sy2502 Wrote:  1) I don't see how arms buildup or corporate bailouts correlate to crime

All I was trying to say is that the monetary argument is ridiculous in view of what society spends billions on. We could afford to be an evolved society if we got our priorities right.
I certainly agree with you that there's plenty of money that could be better spent. But then my argument wasn't based on whether we have the money to keep criminals in jail for life, but rather whether we are morally justified to spend that money that way. To me, feeding and clothing Charles Manson in jail is about as ridiculous as paying AiG exec their bonuses.

Quote:
Quote:2) Yes mistakes can happen. No, no system is entirely fool proof. But I don't agree that we should be so scared of making a mistake that we are frozen solid into complete inactivity.

I did not recommend 'frozen' or 'inactivity'. Why does it have to be either one extreme or the other? I recommended caution and prudence: don't kill people who may be innocent. Now that DNA testing is available, so many prosecutions have been overturned -- little consolation to those who have been executed before their innocence could be established.
Then pretty much anybody "could" be innocent. And why stop at the death penalty? Why not put nobody who could be innocent in jail too? The reality is that juries are instructed to condemn people only if the case has been proven beyond reasonable doubt. So the system you are talking about is already in place. If juries condemn people even if there's reasonable doubt then they are the ones making the mistake and they have to live with that responsibility. But can you possibly blame the juries for condemning somebody because a DNA test, which hadn't even been invented at the time, proves his innocence? You can only expect juries to do the best possible job with the information available to them.

Quote:We could afford to be wise, even (dare I say?) compassionate.
Whether one chooses to be compassionate, and how much, is a personal decision you can only make for yourself, and you shouldn't impose it on others. Maybe you have your entire family raped and killed in front of you and you decide to be compassionate toward the criminal. Ok, that's your choice. But you can't be so self righteous that you expect, demand, in fact legislate, that everybody else MUST be as compassionate. As it's quite apparent, my morals are different than yours in this respect. I don't think compassion should be applied in some blanket fashion. I don't think some people deserve compassion. Look, how about this: let's say you had your family raped and killed in front of you, and you decide to forgive the criminal. Great, maybe that will be enough to not give him the death penalty. But now this guy is going to be in jail for 50 years AT MY EXPENSES and everyone else's. I don't feel any compassion for the guy. I think he's a waste of space. So let's do it this way. Since YOU have compassion, YOU are going to pay for his prison upkeep for as long as he lives. Cool with that?

English is not my first language. If you think I am being mean, ask me. It could be just a wording problem.
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