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Thread: Yet another death penalty debate

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    The Gaze of the Abyss B. de Corbin's Avatar
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    Yet another death penalty debate

    Every time I hear people clamoring for leniency, pissing about the "barbarity" of the death penalty, and going into the "poor criminal-as-victim" bla bla bla, I think about this kind of thing.

    If a society, with it's laws, legal system, and police force refuses to provide actual justice to victims of terrible crimes and their families, then, sooner or later (because the need for "justice" is an inherent part of human psychology) victims and their families will make their own justice.

    It's better that the law do it, because their is some kind of control over the law. But when the law refuses to do it's job, this is the kind of thing I'd predict would happen.

    I'm with Malflick on this - what I would have done had that been my daughter would make 20 years in prison or the death penalty look like a quick trip to Walmart.

    "An eye for an eye and all the world will be blind" is pleasant sounding poetic bullshit. Very few people in any population ever do anything terrible.

    Have you?
    Those who have suffered understand suffering and therefore extend their hand.

    I can't do everything, but I can do something.

  2. #2
    Copper Member Aeran's Avatar
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    Re: "Mother sets fire to her daughter's gloating rapist"

    pissing about the "barbarity" of the death penalty
    The death penalty isn't barbarous because rapists or murderers are victims, it's barbarous because you can't undo it once new evidence arises, not to mention the fact that it costs more to kill someone than it does to jail them for life (and, personally, I consider life imprisonment the far greater punishment). The death penalty is just about satisfying blood lust, at a high price in terms of both finance and the lives of the innocent falsely accused.

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    The Gaze of the Abyss B. de Corbin's Avatar
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    Re: "Mother sets fire to her daughter's gloating rapist"

    Quote Originally Posted by Aeran View Post
    The death penalty isn't barbarous because rapists or murderers are victims, it's barbarous because you can't undo it once new evidence arises...
    I appreciate that concern, and understand it.

    However, when there is clear guilt, it's kind of silly to pretend that there is ambiguity. For example, Ted Bundy, who died in the electric chair, was beyond any doubt (reasonable or otherwise) guilty. Was his execution barbaric? (in composing your answer, please take into account the crimes he committed. His final crime was to suspend a twelve year old girl from a hook in a hog slaughtering shed while he butchered her like a hog. Her name was Kimberly. He did this in Florida because Florida has the death penalty, and that made it more fun for him. This was just ONE of many horrendous murders)

    The death penalty is just about satisfying blood lust...
    You call it blood lust, I call it justice. Tomato/tomato.
    Those who have suffered understand suffering and therefore extend their hand.

    I can't do everything, but I can do something.

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    Copper Member Aeran's Avatar
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    Re: "Mother sets fire to her daughter's gloating rapist"


    However, when there is clear guilt, it's kind of silly to pretend that there is ambiguity. For example, Ted Bundy, who died in the electric chair, was beyond any doubt (reasonable or otherwise) guilty. Was his execution barbaric? (in composing your answer, please take into account the crimes he committed. His final crime was to suspend a twelve year old girl from a hook in a hog slaughtering shed while he butchered her like a hog. Her name was Kimberly. He did this in Florida because Florida has the death penalty, and that made it more fun for him. This was just ONE of many horrendous murders)
    But where do you draw the line? 'clear guilt' isn't as cut and dry as it might seem. Hell, technically speaking, people shouldn't even be convicted unless there's 'clear guilt,' but it obviously still happens. And that's not mentioning bias, prejudice, corruption, etc etc. The criminal justice system isn't perfect because people aren't perfect, and that's always going to be the case. How many innocent people is it supposed to be acceptable to kill if it means we get to kill the guilty ones too?

    You call it blood lust, I call it justice. Tomato/tomato.
    But it isn't "tomato/tomato." There's nothing just about killing innocents. The death penalty is tremendously appealing on an emotional level where we get to block out the ugly question of wrongful conviction, but at the end of the day it doesn't reduce crime (at least, I've never seen any clear evidence that it does), it doesn't save the state money and imo it certainly doesn't make criminals suffer more as a consequence of their crimes. So whats the point? What does it achieve?

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    The Gaze of the Abyss B. de Corbin's Avatar
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    Re: "Mother sets fire to her daughter's gloating rapist"

    Quote Originally Posted by Aeran View Post
    But where do you draw the line?
    Aeran, I'll make you a deal. I'll answer your questions, if you'll answer mine - answer, not replace them with other questions.

    Until that happens, I don't feel like I'm in an honest discussion - it feels more like I am trying to wrestle with smoke, a hobby that doesn't interest me, and seems like a waste of time.

    Only when you can tell me if the execution of Bundy was an example of barbarism does it become worthwhile to discuss the value of evidence.
    Those who have suffered understand suffering and therefore extend their hand.

    I can't do everything, but I can do something.

  6. #6
    Copper Member Aeran's Avatar
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    Re: "Mother sets fire to her daughter's gloating rapist"

    Quote Originally Posted by B. de Corbin View Post
    Aeran, I'll make you a deal. I'll answer your questions, if you'll answer mine - answer, not replace them with other questions.

    Until that happens, I don't feel like I'm in an honest discussion - it feels more like I am trying to wrestle with smoke, a hobby that doesn't interest me, and seems like a waste of time.

    Only when you can tell me if the execution of Bundy was an example of barbarism does it become worthwhile to discuss the value of evidence.
    I figured my answer was implicit in my post, but let me state it plainly: Yes it's barbaric, because you can't pick and choose. The death penalty has to either be supported or opposed as an institution, you can't say 'well it's good, except for the times when it's bad' Doesn't work that way, individual executions don't happen in a vacuum.
    Cameron Todd Willingham was executed February, 2004, for murdering his three young children by arson at the family home in Corsicana, Texas. Nationally known fire investigator Gerald Hurst reviewed the case documents, including the trial transcriptions and an hour-long videotape of the aftermath of the fire scene and said in December 2004 that "There's nothing to suggest to any reasonable arson investigator that this was an arson fire. It was just a fire."[12] In 2010, the Innocence Project filed a lawsuit against the State of Texas, seeking a judgment of "official oppression".[13]

    Statistics likely understate the actual problem of wrongful convictions because once an execution has occurred there is often insufficient motivation and finance to keep a case open, and it becomes unlikely at that point that the miscarriage of justice will ever be exposed. In the case of Joseph Roger O'Dell III, executed in Virginia in 1997 for a rape and murder, a prosecuting attorney argued in court in 1998 that if posthumous DNA results exonerated O'Dell, "it would be shouted from the rooftops that ... Virginia executed an innocent man." The state prevailed, and the evidence was destroyed.[14]
    Johnny Garrett of Texas was executed February, 1992, for allegedly raping and murdering a nun. In March, 2004, cold-case DNA testing identified Leoncio Rueda as the rapist and murderer of another elderly victim killed four months prior.[15] Immediately following the nun's murder, prosecutors and police were certain the two cases were committed by the same assailant.[16] In both cases, black curly head hairs were found on the victims, linked to Rueda. Previously unidentified fingerprints in the nun's room were matched to Rueda. The flawed case is explored in a 2008 documentary entitled The Last Word.
    Jesse Tafero was convicted of murder and executed via electric chair May, 1990, in the state of Florida for the murders of two Florida Highway Patrol officers. The conviction of a co-defendant was overturned in 1992 after a recreation of the crime scene indicated a third person had committed the murders.[17]

    Carlos DeLuna was executed in Texas in December 1989. Subsequent investigations cast strong doubt upon DeLuna's guilt for the murder of which he had been convicted.[18][19]
    Thomas and Meeks Griffin were executed in 1915 for the murder of a man involved in an interracial affair two years previously but were pardoned 94 years after execution. It is thought that they were arrested and charged because they were viewed as wealthy enough to hire competent legal counsel and get an acquittal.[20]
    Chipita Rodriguez was hanged in San Patricio County, Texas in 1863 for murdering a horse trader, and 122 years later, the Texas Legislature passed a resolution exonerating her.

    - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wrongfu...#United_States
    That's just a random selection of people who've died in the US as a result of the death penalty, only to later be cleared of the crimes they were killed for. The execution of Ted Bundy is barbaric because it is inseperable from their execution, and from the execution of countless other innocents. That is absolutely barbaric. The world isn't a better place because Ted Bundy is rotting in a grave, as opposed to a cell. Killing him didn't bring his victims back, and if there's any evidence that it discourages similar crimes, I've never seen it. He suffered less, cost your country more money, and not a damn thing was achieved in the process.

    So there's your answer, so how about mine? How many innocent people is it ok to kill if it means we also get to kill the guilty ones? Where do you draw that line? What ratio is acceptable?

  7. #7
    The Gaze of the Abyss B. de Corbin's Avatar
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    Re: "Mother sets fire to her daughter's gloating rapist"

    Quote Originally Posted by Aeran View Post
    How many innocent people is it ok to kill if it means we also get to kill the guilty ones?
    None.

    Where do you draw that line?
    Mounds of unambiguous forensic evidence clearly placing guilt on those who commit terrible crimes.

    What ratio is acceptable?
    None. Only those who are clearly guilty of terrible crimes should be executed.

    Despite your belief that it is an "all or nothing" proposition - that you either execute everybody or you execute nobody, it doesn't have to be, and it shouldn't be, and it isn't.
    Those who have suffered understand suffering and therefore extend their hand.

    I can't do everything, but I can do something.

  8. #8
    Copper Member Aeran's Avatar
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    Re: "Mother sets fire to her daughter's gloating rapist"

    Quote Originally Posted by B. de Corbin View Post
    None.



    Mounds of unambiguous forensic evidence clearly placing guilt on those who commit terrible crimes.



    None. Only those who are clearly guilty of terrible crimes should be executed.
    That makes absolutely no sense, the justice system just doesn't work that way. If the justice system wasn't convinced of their 'clear guilt,' then they would never have been convicted in the first place. And yet innocent people are convicted, and are executed. Do you really think the judge said 'oh, well it's not clear that he's guilty, but he's the closest thing we've got so meh, might as well kill the bastard'? Every time an innocent person is convicted and executed, the justice system has decided that they were 'clearly guilty.' And yet they were wrong, because in the end they're just a bunch of people who make mistakes sometimes too.

    If you don't feel that any level of wrongful execution is ok, but you still want the death penalty, you must have some kind of vast revamp of the legal system in mind which would allow execution, but somehow filter out the falsely accused. How would that work?

  9. #9
    The Gaze of the Abyss B. de Corbin's Avatar
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    Re: "Mother sets fire to her daughter's gloating rapist"

    Quote Originally Posted by Aeran View Post
    That makes absolutely no sense, the justice system just doesn't work that way. If the justice system wasn't convinced of their 'clear guilt,' then they would never have been convicted in the first place.
    Show me where the ambiguity lies in Bundy's case, then.
    Those who have suffered understand suffering and therefore extend their hand.

    I can't do everything, but I can do something.

  10. #10
    Copper Member Aeran's Avatar
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    Re: "Mother sets fire to her daughter's gloating rapist"

    Show me where the ambiguity lies in Bundy's case, then.
    You're completely missing the point. Like I said, you can't pick and choose. You can't support the death penalty when it kills a scumbag but oppose it when it kills an innocent person. I don't think there's much ambiguity about Bundy, but that's the point, for every single wrongful execution, a whole bunch of people looked at the case and said 'there's no ambiguity here, he clearly did it.' And yet history proved them wrong, because humans make mistakes. Time passes, evidence emerges, stories change, technology improves. How many cases have there been where there is, to the observer, absolutely no ambiguity, the evidence is overwhelming, until suddenly DNA is found, or a witness, and the whole story totally changes? Supporting the death penalty means supporting killing those people before that evidence has a chance to emerge.

    If you don't think wrongful executions are ok, then obviously you don't support the system as it stands, so how would you change the legal system to guarantee absolutely no wrongful executions? I mean that's what you're saying right - either you oppose the death penalty, you support the current system and wrongful execution, or you want to keep the death penalty but change the system to somehow reduce wrongful convictions down to an "acceptable" level. How would that work exactly?

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