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The Death Penalty.

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Fri Jan 14, 2011 5:36 pm
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MeanMrMustard says...



BenFranks wrote:Just throwing in a thought:

What about those who are wrongly convicted? They will face the death penalty and have no chance to proove otherwise. Take the Yorkshire Ripper for example, in the UK, he was recently allowed to appeal against his life sentence - I mean, fair enough, he failed and is still found guilty, thus still serving life - but what if he had prooved he was in fact innocent?

I haven't particularly researched this topic, being from a Western European country where the death penalty is irrelevant, but I know that I would be firmly against the use of the death penalty. It is old fashioned, costly and has no place in a society of progress and influence. Have we given up trying to change our societies and people for the better? Why should we simply resorty to death?


I blame the Puritans. :?

No really though, Puritan influence today is probably the most important factor as to why the U.S. has a death penalty. Many older Americans argue for it out of tradition and morals.....terrible arguments built on prejudice and being stubborn, but the greatest thing of all, I think is the very strong push against being "European". It's not talked about much, but many times in American history there are periods where the so-called fundamentalist Americans bemoan becoming like Europe, as if that means anything.

At the same time, I believe many Americans that proscribe to the aforementioned belief, view countries without a death penalty as weak, soft, and without morals. That can easily be reversed...how is an eye for an eye moral in a world that seeks peace or avoidance of conflict? Well clearly that's a lie and it becomes a means for an end to satisfy the afflicted and serve as a symbolic message. However, as it's been discussed in this thread, this message really falls on deaf ears and it's basically a ritual, more or less.




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Fri Jan 14, 2011 5:42 pm
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Nightshade says...



Aurora, you seem to be changing how you describe prison to suit your purpose. In the course of a single post you go from calling prison "a life of free housing, free meals, and free (sometimes) education" to describing it as slow torture that will likely lead the prisoner to kill themself. You can't simultaneously argue that prison is a soft way out for murderers, and also a fate as bad or worse than death.

My apologies on that point. I worded it very poorly. What I meant was that because the contradictions were so close together, I was having trouble figuring out exactly what Aurora was trying to say. Sorry about that.

By accepting the rights the government protects, you consent to the punishments set down by the same government. If in your state that includes the death penalty, then by accepting the rights granted by your state, you accept its existence as well. You also have the right (instated before you were born) to disagree with particulars of these laws and lobby for them to be changed.

I almost agree with you, but there's a sticking point. If it were truly a two-way relationship like you describe it, where in return for protection by the government, people subject themselves to that government's laws, you would be absolutely correct. That's not the case though. There is no option to not have the government protect your rights and in return be immune to law. The law is enforced on you whether you use your government-given rights or not. I have been held to societal and legal standards since birth, long before I was of age to make any sort of consensual decision on whether I wanted to be a part of society. This "contract" is more akin to being forced to sign a document at gunpoint than a matter of free will.

I agree with almost everything you said in response to my post, Aurora. We are just approaching the same ideas from vastly different angles. I view rights as constant, unjustifiable ideas. They are actually very similar to the idea of god in my mind. People's perceptions of god are constantly changing, but that does not necessarily mean that any existing god is changing to match those perceptions. In the same way, perceptions of rights may change, and what rights are protected might change, but the rights themselves do not. Beliefs on what the basic rights are vary from person to person, but that does not mean the rights are varying. It's a messy topic because there's nothing I can point to and say, "See that? That proves that everyone deserves the right to life." It's just a core belief that isn't subject to reason or law or changes in public opinion. Some people have faith in god; I have faith in people. I can come up with all kinds of rational arguments to defend outlawing the death penalty, but at the core of the issue is my belief that we should be caring for these people, not killing them. Many of the people twisted enough to murder have gone through more trauma and suffering than any of us could imagine. If we can do something to help them, then we'll have a net result of 1 dead person and one person whose life has gotten better. I'll choose that over 2 dead people every time.

To respond to some of the other questions:
I asked people who straight oppose the death penalty to describe what they would put in it's place: Put criminals who would otherwise be given a death sentence in "death row" conditions? Put them in "regular" prisons? What?

What I just talked about wouldn't happen in either death row conditions or regular prison. In the current system, regular prisons would have to be where they'd go. If the death penalty was outlawed, death row wouldn't exist anyways. Ideally, I'd like to see prisons get much better funding and focus on rehabilitation. That's a whole different debate though.

Under this system, would the criminal have the right to appeal to die if they decided later it was preferable? And wouldn't this be considered assisted suicide (which is also considered murder in some states)?

It makes sense that they would be able to appeal to die later on, since the purpose is to prevent them from having to suffer a worse-than-death fate in jail. You are right that assisted suicide laws would probably have to be changed in order for this to be legal.

(I recognize that I've introduced some ideas in this post that aren't exactly good debate fodder. Sorry to introduce things like unjustified belief into what has been such a reasonable debate :P I meant them more as a different perspective to consider than points to be rationally argued.)




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Sat Jan 15, 2011 6:23 am
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Kamas says...



AuroraOrodel wrote:This is exactly my point!!! :D What we have now, the values we've set up are not constant! Things only have value because we give them that value. Our rights are only our rights because we say they are, not because of some universal rule that grants them to us. That's where the power of rights and laws comes from: people. Irrational, prejudicial, cruel, and wonderful people!


So I do understand your (cleverly enhanced) state of mind on this then. :P

They may not be constant, but they influence our lives none the less. We still use money, despite all those philosophers who questioned it's point. I don't believe in exceptions in something so serious. One cannot claim the existence of the monetary system is fake, therefore they can steal. They're caught and faced with a prison penalty. They claim that since the existence of law is nothing but in our own minds he doesn't have to go to jail. Will he still go to jail? Yea. Why should there be an exception for death at the hands of another human being? Whether it be murder, or the death penalty.

Rights can't be ignore because they only exist in our minds. I do agree these are things that we have set for ourselves. If they do, there is no freedom, no rights to speak freely.
Despite you perceiving these things as fake, they still are and will remain for a long long time, what our society is based on. And unless the lack of existence of rights and laws we created for ourselves is accepted by everyone, you're going to have a very VERY hard time arguing this one.

But in my mind, we've been focusing too much on America. What are your thoughts on capital punishment throughout the world?
"Nothing is permanent in this wicked world - not even our troubles." ~ Charles Chaplin

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Mon Feb 21, 2011 9:37 pm
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BrooklynWriter says...



I don't have any fancy crap to back me up but I have a strong opinion on this. I think it is the absolute worst idea anyone/thing could ever come up with. Here's my thinking:

I strongly feel that the death penalty was made up by people who were greiving for a lost loved one that was killed. So to make the killer pay, they decided to kill him for what he's done. Okay, he's dead, boom. But what do they have now. A (hopefully) guilty heart and no loved one. Plus now there is another greiving family somewhere.

Killing one does not make up for the loss of another. The death penalty is wrong.




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Tue Feb 22, 2011 12:21 am
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Funkymomo says...



I'm bipolar on the issue, I see both sides points and agree strongly with both. I know, it's weird. But I want to debate the pro death penalty side for this.

More people in jail equals more wasted resources keeping them alive. We kill them and BOOM! no old guy rotting in a jail for life. And anyways, serial killers are probably crazy. and if we have good evidence, maybe even a person admitting to their crime, then let's kill them.

Yes, I know it stinks and my logic is questionable, but give me a break I'm tired and might have a concussion. Ignore this post if it's really that bad.
Light one candle instead of cursing the darkness.




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Sat Feb 26, 2011 12:10 am
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StoryWeaver13 says...



We are complete hypocrites if, to punish a killer, we kill him. C'mon. Really. Besides this, people can be innocent. Circumstancial evidence, no matter how fool-proof, can sometimes be proven wrong. What if it was too late? What if you realized he (or she) was innocent, months or even moments after they'd already been killed? Life is the one gift that every living person on this earth receives (clearly, or they aren't living), and it's immoral to take it away. Human torture is illegal in the US and most other places as far as I know, why not honest murder?
Because really, that's what it is. Intentional killing, for any reason other than life-or-death defense, is murder.
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Sat Feb 26, 2011 12:18 am
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Jas says...



^ I wish I could like posts.
I am nothing
but a mouthful of 'sorry's, half-hearted
apologies that roll of my tongue, smoothquick, like 'r's
or maybe like pocket candy
that's just a bit too sweet.

~*~




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Sat Feb 26, 2011 2:26 am
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Jas says...



Kamas wrote:What are your thoughts on capital punishment throughout the world?


I think that a question like that can't truly be answered. It depends on each culture, each religion, all the values and morals and traditions that constitute what happens in a country. In some countries, people are stoned daily. Nothing that we debate or argue or come to a conclusion on will change that.
I am nothing
but a mouthful of 'sorry's, half-hearted
apologies that roll of my tongue, smoothquick, like 'r's
or maybe like pocket candy
that's just a bit too sweet.

~*~




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Mon Apr 18, 2011 4:46 am
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kjr5horses says...



If someone is condemned to die then for goodness sakes get it done quickly! Who wants to spend 10+ years in a cell awaiting your death? (Is that not cruel and unusual?)

Once the judge sentences them to death, take them out and carry out their sentence! Sometimes good people die, but the majority of the time the bad people die.
"Me I'm dishonest but a dishonest man you can always trust to be dishonest. Honestly its the honest ones you have to watch out for because you can never tell when they are going to do something incredibly...stupid." ~Capt. Jack Sparrow