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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Capital Punishment (Page 2)

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Author Topic: Capital Punishment
Vadon
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quote:
Originally posted by Stone_Wolf_:
.
quote:
I believe that having a society which endorses the death penalty brutalizes its citizenry by showing us that violence is an acceptable solution to our problems
Sometimes violence an acceptable solution, see World War II. At some point you have to stand up for the innocent, and remove the threat.

I wonder Vadon, what do you think is an appropriate response from society to rape and murder etc?

War is different. When there is an objective threat to the security of your country, defending yourself is justifiable. I'm not saying that when someone is attacking you, you should roll over and take the punches. Defense is different, and that's not what's happening in the case of the death penalty, because we control the situation in its entirety. The criminal is locked up and separate from society.

As for what I think the appropriate response is to rape and murder, I would support life in prison without parole.

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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Rabbit, if most of the other countries that execute people are also countries that we consider having a crappy record on human rights doesn't that indicate something?

If most of the countries we consider to have the best record on human rights are passing laws restricting free expression of religion, would you consider it to mean anything?

If a country you considered to have a generally deplorable human rights record, was really effective in caring for their elderly population, would you consider it evidence that we should stop caring for our elderly?

I simply don't think that at what others do, even others we respect, is a legitimate way to judge what we should or should not do.

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Rappin' Ronnie Reagan
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:

I simply don't think that at what others do, even others we respect, is a legitimate way to judge what we should or should not do.

So you never look at what other people are doing when you decide what to do in a situation?
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Stone_Wolf_
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quote:
War is different. When there is an objective threat to the security of your country, defending yourself is justifiable.
So it's a question of scale? If you are a really really big threat, then a it's okay to kill a really really big amount of people

I understand what you are trying to get at, but if killing is wrong, isn't the scale irrelevant? And what about killing/raping other inmates and guards?

quote:
I simply don't think that at what others do, even others we respect, is a legitimate way to judge what we should or should not do.
Agree.
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Stone_Wolf_
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quote:
Originally posted by Rappin' Ronnie Reagan:
So you never look at what other people are doing when you decide what to do in a situation?

It can be a factor, but not the only criteria which you judge the merits of your actions.

Or how about this:

"If your friends jumped off a bridge, would you do it too?"

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Vadon
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quote:
Originally posted by Stone_Wolf_:
quote:
War is different. When there is an objective threat to the security of your country, defending yourself is justifiable.
So it's a question of scale? If you are a really really big threat, then a it's okay to kill a really really big amount of people

I understand what you are trying to get at, but if killing is wrong, isn't the scale irrelevant? And what about killing/raping other inmates and guards?

You're conflating killing and murder. I believe the death penalty is murder because it's not done out of self-defense. We have them in prison. The threat to society is gone. It's not a question of scale, it's a question of the nature of the deaths. One person killing someone in self-defense is not murder, just as waging a war of defense is not murder either.

As for the ongoing threat of violence and sexual assault within a prison, I'm not saying that my solution is perfect. There are those risks. But that's a question independent of whether or not the death penalty is an appropriate response to a crime. Your concerns are about the infrastructure of our prison systems which is independent from the moral rightness or wrongness of capital punishment.

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Rappin' Ronnie Reagan
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quote:
Originally posted by Stone_Wolf_:
quote:
Originally posted by Rappin' Ronnie Reagan:
So you never look at what other people are doing when you decide what to do in a situation?

It can be a factor, but not the only criteria which you judge the merits of your actions.

Or how about this:

"If your friends jumped off a bridge, would you do it too?"

Who has said it should be the only criterion? Of course it shouldn't be the only thing we consider, but I don't think it's wrong to note what others are doing when you make a decision.
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Stone_Wolf_
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Okay Vadon, your points are well taken. I would take it as a huge improvement on the current system if murders, rapists, molesters, kidnappers and possibly armed robbers got life in prison without the possibility of parole. If they were made to work to help pay for the cost of feeding/housing, it would be even better.

I still think that morally it is not unjust to kill them, but we can agree to disagree about that.

I still feel that it is more humanitarian to kill them then to simply lock them up until they die. I know I would rather have a quick clean death then to slowly rot away surrounded by the scum of the earth.

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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by Rappin' Ronnie Reagan:
quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:

I simply don't think that at what others do, even others we respect, is a legitimate way to judge what we should or should not do.

So you never look at what other people are doing when you decide what to do in a situation?
I think there are many reasons to look at what other people are doing when deciding a course of action. Determining what is morally correct is not one of those reasons.

For example, if it were suggested that eliminating capital punishment would lead to a surge in the murder rate, it would be prudent to look at other countries that had eliminated capital punishment to see what happened. If we were considering instituting harsher punishment for violent crime, it would be prudent to look at countries with harsher penalties in place to see whether the net social effect was positive or negative. But those aren't the same thing as looking at what other people/countries do in order to determine what is morally and ethically correct.

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Vadon
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quote:
Originally posted by Stone_Wolf_:
I still think that morally it is not unjust to kill them, but we can agree to disagree about that.

Sure thing.
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Rakeesh
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quote:
I still feel that it is more humanitarian to kill them then to simply lock them up until they die. I know I would rather have a quick clean death then to slowly rot away surrounded by the scum of the earth.
People say that, but we don't have to put lifers on constant suicide watch, and in states with the death penalty, I believe the needle or the gas chamber is often used effectively as a bargaining chip to get people to plead to things-I think that puts a pretty decisive ding in the notion that it's more humanitarian to kill `em than lock `em up forever. It's usually a safe assumption that people prefer being alive to being dead, and that assumption remains true even when things get really bad.
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The Rabbit
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quote:
I still feel that it is more humanitarian to kill them then to simply lock them up until they die. I know I would rather have a quick clean death then to slowly rot away surrounded by the scum of the earth.
I think its telling that although most people who aren't on trial for a capital crime would agree with you, nearly everyone on trial for a capital crime fights to spend their natural life in prison rather than be executed.

This is a judgement no one can make until they are in the situation.

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The Rabbit
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Stone_Wolf_,

In all honesty, I'm having a real struggle with this discussion because what you have proposed, mandatory Capital Punishment for all violent crimes, is so far beyond what I've ever heard proposed in any serious political debate. This is way beyond what's done in the most oppressive societies on earth. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I am not aware of any human society that has every executed everyone found guilty of armed robbery.

Why are you making such an extreme proposal? Are you trolling us or really that far outside the mainstream of humanity?

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Stone_Wolf_
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quote:
It's usually a safe assumption that people prefer being alive to being dead, and that assumption remains true even when things get really bad.
quote:
This is a judgment no one can make until they are in the situation.
You may be right, I certainly hope I never have to test the theory. [Smile]
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Stone_Wolf_
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quote:
Why are you making such an extreme proposal? Are you trolling us or really that far outside the mainstream of humanity?
Are those really my only two options?
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Rakeesh
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OK, is this another area where what just makes sense overrides what we can actually observe happens in the world in groups we're actually discussing?
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Mucus
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I'm not necessarily convinced by that example anyways. Someone who is fighting against a death penalty isn't necessarily voting for a life in prison versus a quick death. They may also be hoping that that the delay gives them a chance at being exonerated, which has happened.
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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by Stone_Wolf_:
quote:
Why are you making such an extreme proposal? Are you trolling us or really that far outside the mainstream of humanity?
Are those really my only two options?
Perhaps not. If you post something, pretending to be serious about it when you aren't a lot of people would consider it trolling and if you are serious about this proposal -- you are pretty far outside the mainstream of humanity.
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Stone_Wolf_
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I had to look "trolling" up...no, I am sincere. I don't think that puts me "far outside the mainstream humanity".

I read Starship Troopers at a stage of my life when I did a lot of soul searching and devolving a lot of my beliefs. Further, I was very heavily bullied throughout school, and several of my loved ones are victims of rape/molestation.

As to killing armed robbers, I never said either way, I said I was conflicted, and would think about it.

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The Rabbit
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quote:
I had to look "trolling" up...no, I am sincere. I don't think that puts me "far outside the mainstream humanity".
Perhaps then you could point to some societies that do what you've proposed or even some organizations that are proposing this kind of thing.
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The Rabbit
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quote:
As to killing armed robbers, I never said either way, I said I was conflicted, and would think about it.
Why are you conflicted about it? I haven't seen anyone but you even suggesting we ought to be considering it.
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Sean Monahan
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quote:
Originally posted by Stone_Wolf_:
As to killing armed robbers, I never said either way, I said I was conflicted, and would think about it.

Yes, you did. In your OP, you said:

quote:
I suggested in the origin post Sexual Assault, that anyone convicted of murder, rape, molestation or kidnapping should be put to death, after a brief time for a secondary investigation. I'd like to add to that list attempted murder and armed robbery.

The question you are pondering is whether it should apply to armed robbery where no violence or murder has occurred.
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Stone_Wolf_:
quote:
Why are you making such an extreme proposal? Are you trolling us or really that far outside the mainstream of humanity?
Are those really my only two options?
Yes, actually. I postulated earlier that you might not really be cognizant of why what you are proposing is soundly rejected as immoral (I won't bother to internet psychology diagnose why) and that appears to be the case.

I don't need to gloss over the fine points of it — others are doing that for me. The long and short of it is that your idea is bad. Both in terms of general morality as well as achievability and feasibility (which it lacks). If you promote it hoping for the community here at large to 'smooth the edges,' you'll find that if asked to do so, they'll treat your entire plan as an edge to be smoothed away, a poor and credulous system of vengeful, overbearing capital punishment, poorly proposed and poorly backed, ultimately vulnerable to being pounded mercilessly for its propositional weaknesses.

That's it. That's pretty much the only place we can go with this. That's discussion. Don't be too averse to being shown what you've been shown about the Stone_Wolf_Stone_Cold_Justice_System. You have a wealth of valid criticisms that your vigilante idea hasn't (and won't, imo) overcome in trying to assert its validity.

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Destineer
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One serious problem with adding armed robbery, rape and kidnapping to the list of capital crimes is that it removes any further deterrence against murder for those guilty of these crimes.

If you're committing an armed robbery, there's quite an incentive under the Stone_Wolf_Stone_Cold_Justice_System to just kill your victim(s) and be done with it. Might even make it easier to get away with the crime. As it is, armed robbers are often moved to spare their victims because killing them would lead to a more serious sentence. No chance of that if armed robbery will already get you the chair.

Also, kidnapping is a weird crime to have in there. One of the most common forms of kidnapping happens when a parent who doesn't have custody takes their child from the other parent. Would you execute the guilty parent in a case like that?

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Stone_Wolf_
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To Rabbit, I will look...can't right now, must fold laundry. Why am I conflicted about it? Because of my basic belief that underlays the morality, that is, once you have proven yourself to be a risk to society, society has a right to remove that risk. But I feel I need to further examine it as Sean pointed out, "whether it should apply to armed robbery where no violence or murder has occurred", but the willingness to murder for money, or the attempt to murder, shows a risk to society, without actually accomplishing that risk. So I will think more on it.

To Sean Monahan, you are right again, I did say it, completely slipped my mind. Thank you for not beating me up in your posts, I appreciate it.

To Samprimary, I don't know what to say, other then, if you are trying to change my mind about something specifically, you might try to be a bit nicer. If you goal is to just point out that you are so smart and I'm a close-minded bloody-handed lunk, then I hear you loud and clear.

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Stone_Wolf_
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quote:
One of the most common forms of kidnapping happens when a parent who doesn't have custody takes their child from the other parent. Would you execute the guilty parent in a case like that?
Custodial interference vs kidnapping with the threat of bodily harm for ransom.
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The Rabbit
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There are all sorts of side effects of making the death sentence mandatory for crimes. One of them is that its likely to reduce the reporting of crime.

Rape is already seriously under reported, far more so than any other violent crime. One reason for that is that people are commonly raped by someone they know, often even a family member. There is a certain amount of social pressure not to involve the courts. Imagine how much worse that would be if the death penalty was on the line.

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Bokonon
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quote:
Originally posted by Stone_Wolf_:
quote:
Originally posted by Rappin' Ronnie Reagan:
So you never look at what other people are doing when you decide what to do in a situation?

It can be a factor, but not the only criteria which you judge the merits of your actions.

Or how about this:

"If your friends jumped off a bridge, would you do it too?"

Sure, if it was into a pool of marshmallow fluff...

Mmmm, marshmallow fluff.


[Smile]

-Bok

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The Rabbit
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quote:
"If your friends jumped off a bridge, would you do it too?"
I've jumped off bridges. Its quite fun as long as you pick the right bridge.
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Raymond Arnold
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[quote]To Samprimary, I don't know what to say, other then, if you are trying to change my mind about something specifically, you might try to be a bit nicer.quote]

It's not a matter of changing your mind about anything. It's a matter of, it you want to have a discussion with people, you have to accept that they may think your ideas are wrong. Possibly completely wrong. And if you aren't willing to listen and respond to their explanations of why, then it's not a discussion.

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Rakeesh
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Society absolutely has a right to remove that risk. Killing isn't necessary to remove that risk in the present, and according to evidence we can actually quantify and observe might not even be an effective deterrent to remove future risks. It's pretty straightforward.

quote:
There are all sorts of side effects of making the death sentence mandatory for crimes. One of them is that its likely to reduce the reporting of crime.
Threats, violence, and even murder of witnesses, reporters of, and investigators into, all of these crimes that would warrant the death penalty are another possible outcome.
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The Rabbit
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quote:
I still feel that it is more humanitarian to kill them then to simply lock them up until they die. I know I would rather have a quick clean death then to slowly rot away surrounded by the scum of the earth.
If you sincerely feel that life in prison is a more heinous punishment than execution, why do you think Capital Punishment would be a greater deterrent to crime that life in prison. Those two positions are inherently contradictory.
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Rakeesh
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That's not the only one.
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Bokonon
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Removing the risk doesn't mean destroying the risky actor as the only choice.

Also, your system presumes that people cannot change in fundamental ways. Which has been disproven many times over. It may not be common, granted.

As a parent, I look at it this way, the authority should model good behavior, not indulge in that which it would like to abolish.

Or a more Libertarian spin on it would be, I would never want to give the State more power over me than I have over it.

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Stone_Wolf_:
To Samprimary, I don't know what to say, other then, if you are trying to change my mind about something specifically, you might try to be a bit nicer. If you goal is to just point out that you are so smart and I'm a close-minded bloody-handed lunk, then I hear you loud and clear.

To you, is stating straightforwardly that your idea can not work and that you don't seem to recognize for what reasons this is so necessarily 'mean?' Am I calling you a close(d)-minded, bloody-handed lunk, or are you — feeling a bit pressured by others — ascribing that message and motive to me?

You have a strange definition of what's going to constitute a discussion, here. To help you, I should point out that it's still a discussion even if you're going to assert that we have to cajole you and Be Nicer if we want you to be able to recognize that our counterarguments versus your system are valid.

ANALOGY SITUATION METAPHOR SIMILE HYPOTHETICAL MAKE PRETEND TIME: You bring a horse with no legs to a horse race, and you think it's a born winner and ask sincerely if it's got a shot at winning. I say "Don't be ridiculous, it doesn't have any legs." You reply "I don't know what to say except that if you're trying to change my mind, you might try to be a bit nicer."

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The Rabbit
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quote:
To Rabbit, I will look...can't right now, must fold laundry. Why am I conflicted about it? Because of my basic belief that underlays the morality, that is, once you have proven yourself to be a risk to society, society has a right to remove that risk. But I feel I need to further examine it as Sean pointed out, "whether it should apply to armed robbery where no violence or murder has occurred", but the willingness to murder for money, or the attempt to murder, shows a risk to society, without actually accomplishing that risk. So I will think more on it.
So if we were to identify genes that predisposed people to committing violent crime, would you think society had a right to imprison or execute people who have those genes.
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Stone_Wolf_
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I'm not ignoring you all, just taking care of babies and trying (unsuccessfully) to fold laundry. Very cranky babies today.
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scholarette
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Slate is doing a series on innocent folk who get imprisoned and how that happens. Interesting read:
http://www.slate.com/id/2291061/entry/2291063/

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Stone_Wolf_
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I fear and dislike government officials, am a self declared Libertarian, and yet I'm proposing handing over the power of life and death to the government which I basically want to have as little power as possible over me, and that death be made mandatory.

I have to admit it. My views on the death penalty come from; A) A separate view on how the world "should work" not, how it does. B) A large feeling of discontent with the injustice which is produced by a system which has been designed to protect the wrongfully accused. C) A strong desire to protect the truly innocent victims from predators of all kinds.

My ideas (read as Robert Heinlein's ideas) were best and brightest on the pages of fiction, where that system was already in place, with no difficult transition from reality to utopia.

*sigh* It is hard to let go of childhood beliefs as to what the world should be. But as soon as I could accept that this was wishful thinking, I couldn't help but just wish for people to be happy and not hurt each other rather then to kill those that breached the peace. I mean heck, if it's all a wish anyway, why not wish for something better.

Trusting our current government with the power to kill us is a scary proposition, and should truly be reserved for special cases.

I still feel very strongly that the current jail time for these heinous crimes is a joke. I would still love a chance to preform sweeping reforms in our system. I will be posting some of my ideas for those reforms, in a new topic...when I have time.

Thank you Hatrack for pointing out where the line between fantasy and reality meet and helping me get a better understanding of it.

P.S. I still think Samprimary should try to be nicer.

[ April 14, 2011, 02:31 AM: Message edited by: Stone_Wolf_ ]

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Stone_Wolf_
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quote:
So if we were to identify genes that predisposed people to committing violent crime, would you think society had a right to imprison or execute people who have those genes.
Absolutely not. Genes may increase the chance of someone doing something, but I strongly believe in freewill and people should only be held accountable for their choices, and not things beyond their control.
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Stone_Wolf_
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quote:
Originally posted by Destineer:
As it is, armed robbers are often moved to spare their victims because killing them would lead to a more serious sentence. No chance of that if armed robbery will already get you the chair.

Good point.

I remember in the movie "Heat" that once one of the people being held at gun point was killed, they killed all the rest, as the sentence would be the same for all involved and by killing them it made it harder to investigate the crime.

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Graeme
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[BEGIN light-hearted digression]

How about the penal code on that one planet in a season one episode of STTNG, where Wesley faces the death penalty for falling into some flowers? (The planet has a mandatory death sentence for all crimes/infractions, but enforcement is only done randomly.)

Now that was some kind of fictional justice system.

[/END]

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rivka
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I hate that episode.
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jebus202
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That's just because you don't want to believe that God is actually just an alien life-form.
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Stone_Wolf_:
P.S. I still think Samprimary should try to be nicer.

Look, I sincerely think that it's doing you a favor to state, in no uncertain terms, why your plan is bad and that there's obviously a lot you don't see in play here you aren't factoring in.

You are talking about a plan that literally would not even find usage in the most despotic, evil regimes on earth. When your plan, sufficiently detailed, would make the DPRK or the Myanmar Republic or even Zimbabwe go "Wow, that's one screwed up place" it is time to step back and rethink one's conceptualization of appropriate systems of justice.

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Destineer
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quote:
Originally posted by Stone_Wolf_:
quote:
Originally posted by Destineer:
As it is, armed robbers are often moved to spare their victims because killing them would lead to a more serious sentence. No chance of that if armed robbery will already get you the chair.

Good point.

I remember in the movie "Heat" that once one of the people being held at gun point was killed, they killed all the rest, as the sentence would be the same for all involved and by killing them it made it harder to investigate the crime.

Great film, great scene.
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Destineer
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Also, good post (your long one, not the one about Heat).
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Stone_Wolf_
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Samprimary you say:
quote:
...I sincerely think that it's doing you a favor to state, in no uncertain terms, why your plan is bad...
If you had gone to any length to discuss why you thought it was bad, I wouldn't be complaining. In your first post (in another thread that I copied over) you briefly but actually discuss deterrence, morality and constitutionality.

I will quote your posts actually in this thread when you spoke to why you think it is bad vs when you just said it's bad, everyone but you knows it because it's obvious and you really should know it.

Why it's bad:
quote:
...in terms of general morality as well as achievability and feasibility...
That's it.

This is why I find your posts upsetting. I did my best to try and discuss objections that were brought to bear, and many posters went to a lot of thought and trouble to point out flaws and bring insight.

The other posters who did the work of actually discussing the issues with me had 1/100th the attitude you did, and really did help me figure something out.

You just sat at the side line and poked fun. What you did here was just be an intellectual bully. So do not pretend for a single second that it was for my benefit.

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Raymond Arnold
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quote:
If you had gone to any length to discuss why you thought it was bad
By the time Sam posted that, others had already explained in detail why it was bad, and you had already called them mean. Samp specifically said "others have already explained this at length" and was specifically addressing your reluctance to address previous criticisms of your plan.

Edit: I actually don't agree with Samp's posting style in cases like yours, but still, by the time he commented, you had already attributed "meanness" to many well intentioned posts.

[ April 14, 2011, 11:59 AM: Message edited by: Raymond Arnold ]

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Stone_Wolf_
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quote:
...by the time he commented, you had already attributed "meanness" to many well intentioned posts...
Wildly inaccurate.

I said Rakeesh was caustic and plain rude (edited) answering a question from you RA, and that hardly constitutes "many well intentioned posts". Rakeesh even edited his post in question to say he came off harsh. My original posting just requested that Rakeesh keep it civil.

[ April 14, 2011, 12:16 PM: Message edited by: Stone_Wolf_ ]

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