Death Penalty- Yay or Nay?

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Re: Death Penalty- Yay or Nay?

Postby Morgaln » March 7th, 2011, 12:30:22 pm

I personally think the line should be drawn at 'no death penalty whatsoever'. However incurable someone might seem, putting him to death will certainly take any chance at repentance from him. I'm not even religious and yet I think that is wrong from a completely human point of view. We can never know whether someone will not come to regret his ways in the future unless we can prove that he is physically or psychologically unable to change his views. In that case, though, it becomes a medical problem and the question arises on whether someone is fully responsible for his actions if they are dictated by a clinical condition (which is quite rare, actually).
Also, I don't think the relatives will feel better just because a murderer was executed. Seeing another person suffer or die will do nothing to alleviate their loss. In the end, revenge will do nothing to make you feel better, because it will not give you back anything.

As for someone commiting genocide, here we leave law and enter politics, because that usually involves someone in a high government position. You can't really commit genocide without a government behind you that organizes these things, otherwise you are just a serial killer that targets a specific subgroup. If that person is a member of your own government, that usually involves a forceful removal of that government. I don't think killing off your predecessors is a good start for a new government, but it has been a popular solution for that problem in the past.

However, since I happen to know who wolfeyedangel is talking about, we get into the topic on whether war is the correct solution for one country to enforce its interests in another country here, which is not what this topic is about, so I'll refrain from commenting on it.

Out of interest, I did some research on which countries even have death penalty. Interestingly, all of Europe with the single exception of Belarus, doesn't have death penalty. Russia doesn't execute people, neither do Turkey and Israel (those two surprised me). Most of South America has gotten rid of it. Australia and Kanada have both abolished executions quite long ago.

So what's left is mainly China, Japan, India, about half of Africa (the other half mostly still has death penalty in theory but doesn't use it in practice), the Arabian countries and most of Asia. Add to that many of the various Caribbean islands. And the US, of course.


TxCat, as an example: Germany doesn't have death penalty, ever since 1949 (more or less when the country started to get its act together again after WWII). Currently we have roughly 80 million citizens and we had between 800 and 1000 murders a year for the last ten years. That's actual murders, if you include other crimes that lead to the death of someone, it's about three to four times that. That's between 1.0 and 1.25 murders per 100.000 inhabitants, compared to about 5.0 to 5.7 in the US in the last ten years, if my sources are to be believed.
The only possible penalty for murder here is a lifelong prison sentence, which means a minimum of 15 years served and the very real possibility for keeping the convict imprisoned for the actual rest of his life afterwards.
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Re: Death Penalty- Yay or Nay?

Postby TxCat » March 7th, 2011, 6:11:40 pm

Morgaln wrote:I personally think the line should be drawn at 'no death penalty whatsoever'.


Whatever purpose it used to serve --- and I would debate that it ever did serve a purpose, let alone justice --- I too would prefer it did not exist.

That said, in order for the US to join those progressive nations which do not use the death penalty some large overhauls of our justice system need to take place:

- no chance of parole for capital crimes
- for individuals for whom the death penalty would have been warranted, no chance of release. They need to be confined to a maximum security facility and kept there.
- no amenities. Simple provision of a clean cell, clean bedding, nutritious food, basic exercise, and any medical care needed within reason (some of ours actually make it to transplant lists, which I really don't think is fair at all).
- psychiatric treatment (obviously, if you kill someone or you brutally mutilate them you have something gone wrong in the psyche)

Part of the problem is, we still don't know why these people commit their crimes. I don't think the US knows how to deal with them. I am certainly not advocating pity or soft handling because some of these crimes are truly horrendous (actually, all of the ones which would warrant death are in that category) but some effort should be made to figure it out. Our FBI, which handles the profiling and often the capture of these people, has maintained the attitude of "We don't care why, we just want to capture them" for decades. It would seem to me that finding out why would be crucial to solving the problem and needing to put no one to death.

Some of them are undoubtably non-releasable back into society. I still see no reason to execute them.

Another part of the problem is the overall type of offender which receives the death penalty. When interviewed, the general tendency is to tell whoever is doing the interviewing --- law enforcement, psychiatrist, researcher, reporter --- whatever it is they think the person wants to hear. I recently finished reading the taped interviews of Ted Bundy he gave just a few months before he was executed. I find a sort of pathos in the whole thing. Certainly, there are times when he's leading the interviewer on. Other times, there's a grain of truth there. I remember one section of the book in which he actually said, "I don't know why I do what I do. I'd kill me too."

That's painful to hear, and it's echoed in the final statements of quite a few of those on death row.

This is a UK article on statements which were published out of Texas alone:

The Last Words of 376 Prisoners Executed in Texas since 1982

And here is the actual file from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice:

Last words of executed Offenders

There are so very many of them expressing remorse and asking forgiveness that it does indeed lend credence to your own stance. To me, it's a waste of life, literally and spiritually. What better way to make sense of someone's senseless death than a life spent in remorse and penitence?

Also, I don't think the relatives will feel better just because a murderer was executed.


We don't. As I mentioned earlier, I was forcibly called in to give testimony regarding sentencing for the man who shot my beloved. While I did not wish to see him die --- it would change nothing --- I do wish the man could have been punished properly. He begged out his sentence for witness protection since he had information on another case. That man will NEVER pay for his crimes and he killed three families and attempted to eliminate mine. He gets a changed identity and a new start. I'm left to pick up the pieces and hope my beloved can cope with the life changing, life altering injuries he received.

Were it up to me --- and they didn't really ask the families --- I would much rather have seen the man serve time in a facility without privileges.

TxCat, as an example: Germany doesn't have death penalty, ever since 1949


That's impressive. I don't know about gun control over there but I am wondering: can the average citizen own a gun? I know that in Great Britain they cannot and their murder rate is also correspondingly lower. While I love my firearms and find them actually necessary to my lifestyle (no police coverage out there and no way to deal with dangerous four footed predators who might take the livestock), I would gladly give them up if it would produce similar results. I just wonder if access to potentially deadly and relatively anonymous weapons has an impact on whether someone would consider murder a solution in the first place.

I'm also wondering if the statistics are better because once you send them to prison, you KEEP them there.

Thanks for the alternative perspective. While my thinking doesn't conform to the US norms, it's nice to know I'm not the only one who thinks these things.
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Re: Death Penalty- Yay or Nay?

Postby Morgaln » March 7th, 2011, 7:35:20 pm

TxCat wrote:
Morgaln wrote:
TxCat, as an example: Germany doesn't have death penalty, ever since 1949


That's impressive. I don't know about gun control over there but I am wondering: can the average citizen own a gun? I know that in Great Britain they cannot and their murder rate is also correspondingly lower. While I love my firearms and find them actually necessary to my lifestyle (no police coverage out there and no way to deal with dangerous four footed predators who might take the livestock), I would gladly give them up if it would produce similar results. I just wonder if access to potentially deadly and relatively anonymous weapons has an impact on whether someone would consider murder a solution in the first place.

I'm also wondering if the statistics are better because once you send them to prison, you KEEP them there.

Thanks for the alternative perspective. While my thinking doesn't conform to the US norms, it's nice to know I'm not the only one who thinks these things.



Germany has one of the tightest laws for gun control in the world. While the average citizen can own a gun in theory, it's not easy to get a permit for one. Your background is going to be checked rather thoroughly, and some guns will need you to state (and prove) what you need them for. Even if you do, there are some very strict rules about what you may or may not do with them. For example, you may not carry a weapon at public events and you have to keep your gun locked up in a metal closet at home (yes, it has to be metal and it needs to be locked; public authorities can and will visit people without advance warning to check that). If you're transporting a gun (if you're going hunting or target shooting, for example), the guns need to be in a locked box or the trunk, and even then, it may not be ready to be fired. Violating these rules carries high fines and can quickly lead to the gun being confiscated.
In addition, a lot of weapons (not just guns) are forbidden outright. Anything fully automatic, brass knuckles, shuriken, nunchaks, switchblades and butterfly knives are all outright forbidden.
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Re: Death Penalty- Yay or Nay?

Postby Batty » March 7th, 2011, 7:55:31 pm

TxCat wrote:I am curious, because I've never been there, as to the frequency of crimes and number of convicted criminals who would be given the death penalty here, over there. I'm also curious how they're handled. Are they put away in maximum security enclosures? Does your country attempt any sort of rehabilitation? What are the success rates?



According to the latest statistics I could find, In 2006-07, there were 260 homicide instances, involving 266 victims and 296 offenders. For a population of 22,000,000, that's one murder per 82,700 people. (1.2 murders per 100,000) We have two levels of conviction for killing: Manslaughter -- ie unintentional killing ( eg by drunk driving, during the course of a fight, doing something dangerous etc) -- and Homicide.

Those convicted of homicide are sentenced to Life, which has an indeterminant length. The Judge sets a number of years before parole can be considered. Some cases have been given up to 35 years non-parole, most of these people are unlikely to recieve parole and will die in prison. There have been a few cases of "Never to be released." These guys are usually sent to Maximum security, and might be allowed to get to medium security.

Prisoners are housed depending on their behaviour, in minimum (ie your normal prison), medium, maximum or supermax. Supermax is basically an entire prison of solitary confinement with very little outside contact.

Minimum, medium and maximum security prisoners have access to university courses. Minimum and Medium security have access to skills training, and Minimum can also have supervised out-of-prison day excursions.

I don't have any hard numbers for successful rehab. It is generally successful, but not 100%.

...

In the case of the death penalty, being that sort of wrong strikes me as rather permanent. As far as I know, they don't compensate the families wronged either. They simply return the former inmate's things with an "Oops, my bad" statement.

That, to me, is not acceptable.


I am always heartened by advances in forensics, and am glad there are people like DM out there. I know he is after the one who did it and not after a quick arrest and conviction. There have been cases of this in the past, this one only took 22 years from a man instead of his life, that wouldn't have stood up to modern forensics. We can get evidence now that was not possible in the 80s, and unimaginable in the 70s. The chances of the innocent being wrongly convicted are diminishing (but not eliminated.)

This is why I am against the death penalty; there is no coming back from that kind of mistake. But even when there is no mistake I still think the death penalty is wrong. The criminal has been caught, convicted and imprisoned. That is justice and punishment. This is why I say killing them is not justice, it's revenge. It might bring "closure" the family of the victim, but is that closure because they have seen justice done, or because they have seen the one who killed their loved one die?
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Re: Death Penalty- Yay or Nay?

Postby SaxonDarkAngel » March 8th, 2011, 10:15:26 pm

My opinion, with me not knowing much about the death penalty, is probably not important.
Since Michigan does not have the death penalty, I do not know a ton about it, and it isnt one of my interests, so I havent studied it extensively.

However, I will say that the death penalty is good, and bad. And in certain situations can be misused and misapplied.

I do not know how a state decides who deserves the death penalty, but here is my basic list of when it would or would not apply.


Now, I think that the Death Penalty can serve its uses, but there are SO many loopholes (in the US at least) to get through it or delay the event. And there can be inefficient means of euthanasia. Almost every way, SOMEONE is going to feel guilty. Whether it is the person who stuck the needle in, or the person pulling the hang-rope (do they still do that in America?), or all the people who might have had the bullet in their gun (the method where X guns are loaded with blanks and 1 is loaded with a bullet and they are all shot at the same time).

Personally, I think we should find a habitable island and stick them there with food and water, as well as a means of living (living quarters, livestock, food seeds, etc.). Maybe they would sort themselves out. And it would eliminate most of their rights and force them to concentrate on living, rather than crimes.

Just my opinion.


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Re: Death Penalty- Yay or Nay?

Postby Corvidae » March 8th, 2011, 10:46:50 pm

I don't think accidental killing should be considered a crime, unless it's the sort of "I didn't mean to kill him, just break his ribs!" kind of accident.

Crime implies intent. If there is no intent, there is no crime. Why, then, should there be a punishment?
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Re: Death Penalty- Yay or Nay?

Postby TxCat » March 8th, 2011, 11:29:52 pm

Corvidae wrote:crime implies intent. If there is no intent, there is no crime. Why, then, should there be a punishment?


(Yay, computer is NOT broken!)

It all comes down to choices. In most cases in which I've seen manslaughter considered a crime, it is because of the circumstances surrounding the incident. A drunk driver, for instance, who plows his car into a crowd of people and hits them may not have chosen directly to kill anyone. He might even be --- and probably is --- remorseful about the accident. However, that does not change the fact that the hypothetical driver had a choice: to get behind the wheel and drive, knowing he was incapacitated, or to do something else. This is also where you sometimes get people charged with accessory to manslaughter. In the aforementioned example, for instance, if the bartender or his buddies knew he wasn't okay to drive and witnesses can be produced demonstrating their intervention would have prevented the accident, they can be charged as accessories. The specifics change from state to state, but the general idea does not.

The same holds true for the mother who, in a sudden fit of rage, shakes her baby to death. She may not have meant to kill the child --- but she did do so and that has to be taken into account.
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Re: Death Penalty- Yay or Nay?

Postby Kestrad » March 9th, 2011, 12:25:39 am

TxCat wrote:
That's impressive. I don't know about gun control over there but I am wondering: can the average citizen own a gun? I know that in Great Britain they cannot and their murder rate is also correspondingly lower. While I love my firearms and find them actually necessary to my lifestyle (no police coverage out there and no way to deal with dangerous four footed predators who might take the livestock), I would gladly give them up if it would produce similar results. I just wonder if access to potentially deadly and relatively anonymous weapons has an impact on whether someone would consider murder a solution in the first place.

I'm also wondering if the statistics are better because once you send them to prison, you KEEP them there.

Thanks for the alternative perspective. While my thinking doesn't conform to the US norms, it's nice to know I'm not the only one who thinks these things.


Just thought I'd put out there that China has such tight gun control that even police often don't have guns with them, so a man was able to kill several using just a knife. China also has an exceedingly high number of death sentences.

Now, I'm all for tight gun control and I don't like the death penalty, but there are never absolutes.
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Re: Death Penalty- Yay or Nay?

Postby darkheart753 » April 17th, 2011, 2:39:31 am

I'm for the death penalty, but only in certain cases. I'll separate this into a couple paragraphs (because I'm logical) to explain.

First, the reasonable cause clause. Say, for example, you're attacked by a man with a gun. He has the weapon pointed straight at your chest, its cocked, loaded, and ready to fire, and he's threatening you with it. Assume this man is not a cop. If, by some stroke of luck, you manage to get your hands on the gun or some other weapon long enough to subdue your attacker and kill him in the process, you do not deserve the death penalty. You were following a naturally-driven instinct to protect yourself from serious harm. However, you still committed a crime, and need to be punished. Accordingly.

Second, the adrenaline clause. This is a scenario that was used on CSI: NY. Imagine you're on a plane, and some deranged man is trying to open a door that, when opened at this height in the air and at this speed, would kill everyone on the plane. Of course you're going to try and stop him. However, once he's stopped from killing you all, can you stop yourself? Adrenaline is a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands in conditions of stress that increases blood circulation, breathing, and carbohydrate metabolism, preparing the muscles for exertion. Also known as Epinephrine, Adrenaline can make it difficult to stop an action when it needs to be stopped. My father had a friend who rolled his vehicle and had his seatbelt on. The night before, it had been raining, and there was water pooled in the ditch he ended up in. That friend died because his adrenaline, still flowing through his body from the rollover, prevented him from unbuckling his seat belt. Adrenaline is a helper, but it can also be a killer. When you're that hyped up on adrenaline, when your entire mind is completely focused on saving your skin, no matter the cost, it's difficult to make the right decision and stop. Again, however, you still committed a crime, and need to be punished accordingly.

Finally, the anger clause. Not every murder is planned. Just like an impulse-buyer, humans can commit murder because the time and conditions are right. Someone was tired of the nonsense in their life and was unstable as it was. Then, when the timing couldn't be worse, someone tipped them over the edge and that person ended up being murdered. Yes, they feel bad after the fact, but the fact is they couldn't control themselves, when there was no adrenaline or personal threat variable available, they couldn't stop and think, 'is this something smart? Is this something I can do without worrying about getting in trouble?' With emotional issues like that, they're a threat to society, and maybe they need to be killed. Maybe. Or at least put into solitary.

I think the only reason the death penalty should be enforced is when you plan a murder, it's carried out, and then a cover-up is enacted. Not only does that show intent to commit the crime, it shows you planned on avoiding the consequences, which means you are definitely a threat to society and DO need to be removed from it. Permanently. A life sentence isn't going to fix the problem.

The first two of those reasons involve cases in which, had you not committed the crime, your brain told you that you would die. The last, however, is the instance in which I believe the death penalty is appropriate. Despite every advancement we make, every disease we cure, everything we do to make life more efficient, deep down, humans are only one thing. That one thing is well-trained, conditioned to perfection, and, by instinct, is driven to both further and protect the species.

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Re: Death Penalty- Yay or Nay?

Postby bunny4eva » April 17th, 2011, 1:22:11 pm

Where I'm from this isn't allowed to be performed...
Though in some cases I really wish it should be. :smirk:
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