Why the death penalty should never be abolished.

str8_forward

Active member
so happy to call SC my home, just surprised the retard McMaster actually signed it. Would be happy to participate in the firing squad and could sleep at night without regrets. Of course it would cost me a bit of money to make sure we all would aim for the stomach....................

Now to the next step, secede from the Union, don't think our stolen tax dollar are used for anything good in DC.

 

roscoe

Well-known member
The main problem with the death penalty is there is no going back if the accusation is false. Plenty of folks have been released due to DNA evidence after murder convictions.

The moral cost to a society of executing the innocent seems too much to risk. And don't think it hasn't happened.
 

wiscoaster

Well-known member
Oops ... add one more to where I agree w/ @roscoe and even if it tarnishes (slightly) my shining conservative shield. I think the better alternative is life in prison, but I add one more argument to the above: a lifetime of incarceration is a greater punishment than death. That being said, such incarceration should be actual punishment, not a cushy three squares, gym privileges, free medical, and unlimited cable, high-speed internet and YouTube access.
 

theotherwaldo

Well-known member
My only reason for continuing to support a death penalty is that way too many life sentences aren't really life sentences.
Leftists seem to like to turn murderous bastards loosr... .
 

Howland937

Active member
The main problem with the death penalty is there is no going back if the accusation is false
I'd call that the only problem. In cases such as the one originally cited, there's zero chance mom admits to causing her child's brutal death in front of her other children if she wasn't the actual cause.
 

roscoe

Well-known member
I'd call that the only problem. In cases such as the one originally cited, there's zero chance mom admits to causing her child's brutal death in front of her other children if she wasn't the actual cause.

Yes, but the problem is insurmountable. There is no way to say that there are cases with is no possibility of error. Especially in the case of confessions. False confessions happen all the time.
 
The main problem with the death penalty is there is no going back if the accusation is false. Plenty of folks have been released due to DNA evidence after murder convictions.

The moral cost to a society of executing the innocent seems too much to risk. And don't think it hasn't happened.

This is why I don't have any problems with convicted criminals being on death row for years while the appeals process grinds slowly along.

A death sentence should never be expedited in favor of the government.
 

Howland937

Active member
Yes, but the problem is insurmountable. There is no way to say that there are cases with is no possibility of error. Especially in the case of confessions. False confessions happen all the time.
I don't understand how you can say there are no cases with zero chance of error. 3 of the most high profile shooting incidents in recent years (where the cowardly killer didn't commit suicide)
Charleston
Parkland
Aurora
There's no question who. Why no longer matters since that can't be fixed. Is there a compelling reason for keeping them alive? I mean, besides just not liking capital punishment...

I certainly don't consider the death penalty a one-size-fits-all prospect, but there are instances when it should never be off the table.
 
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roscoe

Well-known member
I don't understand how you can say there are no cases with zero chance of error. 3 of the most high profile shooting incidents in recent years (where the cowardly killer didn't commit suicide)
Charleston
Parkland
Aurora
There's no question who. Why no longer matters since that can't be fixed. Is there a compelling reason for keeping them alive? I mean, besides just not liking capital punishment...

I certainly don't consider the death penalty a one-size-fits-all prospect, but there are instances when it should never be off the table.

Our justice system just does not work this way. We don't have two categories of guilty- those who are guilty, and those who are really, really guilty. Once you open up the doors to a few really heinous killers who are clearly guilty, you are on a slippery slope. How sure do we have to be? Really sure, or really, really sure? And then how bad a murder is is bad enough? How many killings puts you over the threshold? And further - who gets to make that decision? If it is a human, then the justice system will be invariable applied in an uneven fashion, as bias will always be there.

It is a philosophically intractable problem. Sooner or later, we will get it wrong (as we have before), and then we will have been complicit in state-sponsored murder of an innocent person. If someone is simply put in a maximum security prison (no pleasant place, I assure you), if you got it wrong, there is opportunity to correct it, when better technology comes along (DNA), or when corruption in the system is exposed. How would you feel to have been convicted of murder based on the testimony of the Rampart detectives in LA back in the 1990s?

Look, I am not opposed to killing. Anyone who threatens my family should make out a will. But when the government does it, it is a whole 'nuther thing. It is always an emotional, rather than a logical response - executing the convicted murderer does not make the public safer (no candidates for execution are let out of prison); it just makes people feel good. Governments should strive to eliminate the emotional response in their policies.
 

Howland937

Active member
If it is a human, then the justice system will be invariable applied in an uneven fashion, as bias will always be there.
It's already done that way. 1st degree murder, 2nd degree, 3rd degree, the varying levels of manslaughter...then compound it with "gun specifications" etc...

There's no way to remove the human element from the administration of justice. Humans themselves made the laws, enforce the laws and interpret the laws. Granted, there's bias and uneven application all the time. I don't recall if you replied to the question I asked earlier in the thread, so I'll put it out there again.
Were the parties found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity at Nuremberg unjustly hung, or were they deserving of that end?
 
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Howland937

Active member
The slippery slope to me is that we, in most states, are allowed by law to take a life in order to preserve our own or the life of another. We can preemptively cause the death of another without ever actually being harmed. But if the person threatening our lives actually follows through on a threat and ends the life of one of us, they somehow shouldn't face the same fate?
 

roscoe

Well-known member
It's already done that way. 1st degree murder, 2nd degree, 3rd degree, the varying levels of manslaughter...then compound it with "gun specifications" etc...

Right - so there are graduated penalties. With an execution it is binary - we execute them or we don't. There is no opportunity to use the kind of sliding scale of 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.
 

roscoe

Well-known member
I don't recall if you replied to the question I asked earlier in the thread, so I'll put it out there again.
Were the parties found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity at Nuremberg unjustly hung, or were they deserving of that end?

This is WAY complicated, since we were executing people for things done outside US jurisdiction, based on international laws the Nazis never would have recognized. Yet, there were clearly very important international norms (with regard to prisoners of war, but obviously also genocide) the Nazis violated, and the world had to have some way of dealing with it. So, honestly, I don't know. Some of it felt like an emotional response (which was obviously understandable).

It was notable that there were not that many hangings, which seems pretty generous after the killing of 10s of millions by the Nazis. Even if you include subsequent trials (second Nuremburg, Doctors' trials, Auschwitz trials, Dachau trials, etc.), it is really not that many. Fewer than 300, I believe. Nothing like what the Soviets did.

It was clearly an emotional response after the horrors of WW 2. But I don't think we would do it today (even though I think that, in general, killing Nazis seems like a good rule of thumb).
 

roscoe

Well-known member
The slippery slope to me is that we, in most states, are allowed by law to take a life in order to preserve our own or the life of another. We can preemptively cause the death of another without ever actually being harmed. But if the person threatening our lives actually follows through on a threat and ends the life of one of us, they somehow shouldn't face the same fate?

Yes. There is a very important distinction here. In self-defense, it is the act of a private citizen typically made under extreme duress and time pressure. An execution is the act of a government in which the role of the justice system is not self-defense, but typically some combination of retributive and restorative justice (and in some non-capitol cases, rehabilitative). The purpose of the killing is far different - a priori self-defense vs. a posteriori punishment. The standards of behavior, risk assessment, judgement, decision-making, and punishment are far different between the two circumstances.

If you are threatened and fail to act, you (or loved ones) may suffer significantly. The same does not apply to a government - having a murderer sit in a cell poses no threat to society or the government. It is trying to find some way to right the moral balance by punishing the guilty (which, in most cases, even execution would not do).

And here is the critical point - since we know that false convictions occur at some quantifiable number, if we allow capital punishment, we are knowingly sentencing some number of innocent citizens to unjust death. That, to my mind, offsets any potential chance to right the moral balance, which is the justice system's true goal. Executing the innocent further tilts the moral balance in the wrong direction. If you sentence someone to sit in a cell forever, you at least have a chance to undo any errors.
 

Howland937

Active member
Ok, so FFWD a few decades. U.S. forces captured Saddam turned him over to the Iraqis and allowed him to be tried and executed in their court. Subsequently U.S. forces conducted a raid and killed bin Laden. Were those revenge killings or punishment? Are we only permitted to administer death sentences to foreign enemies of our country, or enemies of humanity? Should we be required to preserve the lives of foreign monsters in the same manner we preserve the lives of our domestic ones?
It was notable that there were not that many hangings
They only hung the ones that wouldn't benefit our technological advancements.
 

roscoe

Well-known member
Ok, so FFWD a few decades. U.S. forces captured Saddam turned him over to the Iraqis and allowed him to be tried and executed in their court. Subsequently U.S. forces conducted a raid and killed bin Laden. Were those revenge killings or punishment? Are we only permitted to administer death sentences to foreign enemies of our country, or enemies of humanity? Should we be required to preserve the lives of foreign monsters in the same manner we preserve the lives of our domestic ones?

They only hung the ones that wouldn't benefit our technological advancements.

There is some truth to this. Von Braun, in particular got off without ever really having to answer for his acts.
 
Our justice system just does not work this way. We don't have two categories of guilty- those who are guilty, and those who are really, really guilty. Once you open up the doors to a few really heinous killers who are clearly guilty, you are on a slippery slope. How sure do we have to be? Really sure, or really, really sure? And then how bad a murder is is bad enough? How many killings puts you over the threshold? And further - who gets to make that decision? If it is a human, then the justice system will be invariable applied in an uneven fashion, as bias will always be there.

It is a philosophically intractable problem. Sooner or later, we will get it wrong (as we have before), and then we will have been complicit in state-sponsored murder of an innocent person. If someone is simply put in a maximum security prison (no pleasant place, I assure you), if you got it wrong, there is opportunity to correct it, when better technology comes along (DNA), or when corruption in the system is exposed. How would you feel to have been convicted of murder based on the testimony of the Rampart detectives in LA back in the 1990s?

Look, I am not opposed to killing. Anyone who threatens my family should make out a will. But when the government does it, it is a whole 'nuther thing. It is always an emotional, rather than a logical response - executing the convicted murderer does not make the public safer (no candidates for execution are let out of prison); it just makes people feel good. Governments should strive to eliminate the emotional response in their policies.

We're not going to get it right 100% of the time with anything we do. We're not perfect and we never will be. Using that as an argument not to do something is a feeble argument at best.

It's not achieving perfection that's the goal, but the pursuit of it.

With executions, control over the government's ability to execute people is what's really important. We're going to see that pendulum swing back and forth on that battle over time spans measured in decades. It's that swing that's important, because that's how we limit the power of our government and prevent things going out of balance.

Government is a necessary evil, and it exists as an institution down to the smallest family unit whether we recognize this or not. Government without power is useless. Government with to much power is tyranny. Government with any kind of power in between will always be shifting balance which cannot ever have everybody's best interests at heart.

Restrictions on what the Government is and is not allowed to do is the first layer of protection to the people. Due process is the next layer with respect to actions against the people. And there are more.

If we allow the government the ultimate authority to deprive an individual of the ultimate with respect to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, then we must make the government do all the work to prove its necessity while we make it as dogfight as possible.

THAT is our role.
 

roscoe

Well-known member
We're not going to get it right 100% of the time with anything we do. We're not perfect and we never will be. Using that as an argument not to do something is a feeble argument at best.

It's not achieving perfection that's the goal, but the pursuit of it.

With executions, control over the government's ability to execute people is what's really important. We're going to see that pendulum swing back and forth on that battle over time spans measured in decades. It's that swing that's important, because that's how we limit the power of our government and prevent things going out of balance.

Government is a necessary evil, and it exists as an institution down to the smallest family unit whether we recognize this or not. Government without power is useless. Government with to much power is tyranny. Government with any kind of power in between will always be shifting balance which cannot ever have everybody's best interests at heart.

Restrictions on what the Government is and is not allowed to do is the first layer of protection to the people. Due process is the next layer with respect to actions against the people. And there are more.

If we allow the government the ultimate authority to deprive an individual of the ultimate with respect to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, then we must make the government do all the work to prove its necessity while we make it as dogfight as possible.

THAT is our role.

This is a much broader philosophical statement about the relationship of a citizen to the government, but I agree with it. Execution is, in many ways, the ultimate manifestation of the monopolization of power by the government.

it is worth noting that the less democratic the government, the more likely a country is to have capitol punishment. The US and Japan are the notable exceptions, but take a look at China, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Zimbabwe, New Guinea, Somalia, Egypt, etc. Not good company to be in.
 
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