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Guest Shiva H. Vishnu

The Death Penalty

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To me Justice seems fundamentally reactionary. Justice can't seem to be done until after a crime is commited. I personally dislike the concept, but I deal with it because I can't think up anything better. Reason I condoned the death penalty is it is simply a means to effectively and economically remove those who continually pose a threat to society and who cannot be recycled into it.

 

The what-if-we're-wrong argument is not valid here. We're talking people for whom there is no doubt of guilt, and we know that by more than admission.

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Dhampir, the only problem with death penalty is that it usually is more costly to society than lifetime prison... at least that's what I've heard... I better check for sources and background for this info before I even continue. :)

 

Here's some info about the "cost effective" death penalty.

 

http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/article.php?did=108&scid=7

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Guest Shiva H. Vishnu

To me Justice seems fundamentally reactionary. Justice can't seem to be done until after a crime is commited. I personally dislike the concept, but I deal with it because I can't think up anything better. Reason I condoned the death penalty is it is simply a means to effectively and economically remove those who continually pose a threat to society and who cannot be recycled into it.

 

The what-if-we're-wrong argument is not valid here. We're talking people for whom there is no doubt of guilt, and we know that by more than admission.

 

 

I think you're wrong. If we always got it right there would be no need for organisations like the Innocence Project.

 

We're also talking about a population that is disproportionately black. Do we honestly think that blacks are just more murderous and evil or could there be something other than blind justice at work?

 

Only perfect justice would have the authority to take a life. Such a thing does not exist.

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Dhampir, the only problem with death penalty is that it usually is more costly to society than lifetime prison... at least that's what I've heard... I better check for sources and background for this info before I even continue. :)

 

Here's some info about the "cost effective" death penalty.

 

http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/article.php?did=108&scid=7

Simply means that it needs to be revamped. I understand the process fairly well, and I do find it flawed. That doesn't mean that the idea isn't good at the core.

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Dhampir, I read a book a couple years ago that explored the various arguments for and against capital punishment. I wish I could remember teh name of the book for you. We by no means get it right all the time... we HAVE electrocuted, hung, and even injected INNOCENT PEOPLE, as recently as a few years ago. If I recall, Texas has the worse record in this regard. Few death row inmates are convicted on DNA evidence. If this doesn't disturb you, then something is wrong... :shrug:

 

Dhampir, the only problem with death penalty is that it usually is more costly to society than lifetime prison... at least that's what I've heard... I better check for sources and background for this info before I even continue. :)

 

Here's some info about the "cost effective" death penalty.

 

http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/article.php?did=108&scid=7

 

 

I recall this from that book, as well.. it is due to the legal fees prisoners rack up trying to get their sentences reduced to life imprisonment.

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Guest Shiva H. Vishnu

Dhampir, the only problem with death penalty is that it usually is more costly to society than lifetime prison... at least that's what I've heard... I better check for sources and background for this info before I even continue. :)

 

Here's some info about the "cost effective" death penalty.

 

http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/article.php?did=108&scid=7

Simply means that it needs to be revamped. I understand the process fairly well, and I do find it flawed. That doesn't mean that the idea isn't good at the core.

 

 

What does mean that it's good at the core? And is the core all that matters? Collateral damage is acceptible as long as we like the friggin "core". Not killing people isn't a great core ideal, but killing people is, and it's so great that we will accept anything that comes along with it as necessary baggage?

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We the people have assigned ourselves the authority, Shiva, those people who've taken power through one method or another. There is the wellspring of human authority to do anything, from there, we get into subsystems of authority. Again, I'm not talking about those for whom there is the shadow of a doubt, but then again, if we worked it like that, I think more people would get life than currently recieve the death penalty. To lower the chances of error.

 

I mean, are we wrong to kill someone who's convicted, says he's not guilty then get's behind bars and starts attemping to and killing other inmates? The evidence convicted, and the likelihood that he's being truthful decreases with every attack. And what if he didn't kill the person(s) he was tried for killing on the outside? His conduct indicates that he would have eventually or probably didn't get caught for another murder.

 

People who can't funtion, who will be a violent detriment to society, the ones who show no capacity to change or empathise are best off out of the way. I would support either decision, however I'd go with the one that deals with the problem more directly were it my choice.

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Guest Shiva H. Vishnu

Dhampir, I realise that you are only for killing people we are absolutely sure did it. I am trying to tell you that we can't trust that to take place. Not only that, we can't trust prosecutors to apply it consistantly or even scrupulously. In an ideal perfect justice system you might have a case for the death penalty, but we don't live in that world. To support the death penalty as it is is to condone the killing of innocents in the name of justice.

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Shiva, I see a distinct lack of reading comprehension. I don't see where I wasn't open to the idea of life incarceration.

 

Now Assy, no need to get snippy. The discussion is about the death penalty and you said...

 

Pardon my snippiness, but it appeared as if you didn't see the part where I have also said:

 

Again, I'm completely content with sticking those kinds of criminals, ones who willfully and knowingly committed an act, in a hole with minimal food and water and complete isolation from all humanity, or killing them. As long as they are isolated and removed from society, that is all that is necessary.

 

As if anyone is saying that there shouldn't be clear consequences for criminal behavior. It seemed like you were trying to say that unless we kill criminals we aren't punishing them. I was simply responding that, to me, incarceration is adequate "punishment" and doesn't make us the killers.

 

You speak as if killing is wrong.

 

Society is partly responsible for the production of criminals.

 

I think it's naive to create some conceptual monster as the scapegoat of other peoples actions. If we know what is right and we know what is wrong, then individual human action is the only causal force in any specific crime.

 

Not all laws are moral absolutes.

 

Very true.

 

What's you're alternative, Asimov? Anyone who steals, batters, destroys property, maims, rapes, murders etc. get's a bullet immediately when they are discovered in a room with a corpse or a stolen playstation? Or do we wait a minute and try to determine what happened? That's what the courst are for, but the courts are fallible. They are not Gods. They can be and are wrong, to the tune of 171 inmates freed because of exonerating dna evidence. Not freed by the courts. Freed by the efforts of people outside the court system who gave enough of a damn to not let innocent people die. Our justice system cannot be trusted with someone's life. Any one of us could have been one of those 171.

 

Like I said, I'm perfectly willing to accept alternatives to capital punishment, Shiva. If you are arguing that the level of uncertainty is too great of a cost to the benefit of capital punishment, that is certainly a better argument than "oooh, it's icky".

 

Sure, we all realise that killing absolutely has to happen sometimes. When you have no other option you do what you have to do. But even then, if you aren't a monster, you don't revel in it. You don't take pleasure in it. You do it because you must. A man in a cage, as long as he can be safely kept there, does not NEED to be killed. Killing this man carries with it a heavier burden than killing a man in battle or killing a man who attacks your family. I'm willing to pay a few extra dollars if it means I will never participate in the execution of an innocent person, or, honestly, even of a guilty person. To me, that cost is too high.

 

I take pleasure in justice towards those who commit immoral acts, Shiva. Be that death or incarceration.

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Dhampir, I realise that you are only for killing people we are absolutely sure did it. I am trying to tell you that we can't trust that to take place. Not only that, we can't trust prosecutors to apply it consistantly or even scrupulously. In an ideal perfect justice system you might have a case for the death penalty, but we don't live in that world. To support the death penalty as it is is to condone the killing of innocents in the name of justice.

 

 

You make another excellent point that I had not thought about in a while... indeed, you would need a perfect justice sytem to apply the principles consistently. (And this is obviously impossible.) I wouldn't say it's the same as endorsing the death of innocents to do otherwise because most people just accept that some innocents will be killed in order to justify ridding society of murderers. I don't, but I'm guessing that's what we'll hear.

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Guest Shiva H. Vishnu
Like I said, I'm perfectly willing to accept alternatives to capital punishment, Shiva. If you are arguing that the level of uncertainty is too great of a cost to the benefit of capital punishment, that is certainly a better argument than "oooh, it's icky".

 

Although I would object to the paraphrasing of my position as "ooh thats icky", I'm actually making both arguments. And since I've been talking to you I've been trying to focus on our level of uncertainty as opposed to the "icky" factor. So why don't we focus on that?

 

You speak as if killing is wrong.

 

I think killing a human is wrong unless it is totally unavoidable and necessary. That's my opinion. We don't have to agree on this issue because there are other arguments.

 

I think it's naive to create some conceptual monster as the scapegoat of other peoples actions. If we know what is right and we know what is wrong, then individual human action is the only causal force in any specific crime.

 

It's also naive to assume that every time someone is confronted with a choice of whether or not to commit a crime that we are all on a level moral playing field. Someone who has been treated with violence is more likely to respond with violence then someone who hasn't had to deal with it and been conditioned to it. Someone who has always had tons of money is far less likely to break in to your home and take your tv then someone who grew up in the projects eating government cheese sandwiches. According to statistics, blacks are several times more likely to commit a death penalty offense than whites. Why? Are blacks bad? Or are we putting the lives of people in the hands of other people who may have any number of prejudices and therefor may not make a just decision? We can tolerate that risk as long as it's not the final word. If death is out of the picture then they have the rest of their lives to prove their innocence. According to a website linked in this thread it doesn't cost us any more to keep em alive.

 

So, why kill.

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Interesting points, Shiva, I have a lot to think about.

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Interesting points, Shiva, I have a lot to think about.

 

 

:mellow::huh::o:o:blink::wacko::mellow::poke:

 

Did Asimov just accept that someone else may have a point regarding the death penalty? Is Asimov not actually all testosterone all the time? :lmao:

 

Just kidding with you, Asimov. :grin:

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I just wanted to add a few words about transinstitutionalization of patients from mental hospitals to jails in the 1960’s. At that time in Ohio alone, the number of psych institutions was reduced from 37 to 19. In that same time frame, the number of jails went from 7 to 32. All across the country people – many who were mentally ill – were being herded into jail and were labeled criminals. It is now the standard to jail people who show signs of bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and people who are profoundly addicted to drugs.

 

And I think someone who has raped, tortured, and murdered someone has forfeited their right to be in the Human Being Club and lost all rights to be treated humanely in turn. Maybe that's a flaw, that I don't see such people as human beings anymore, but it's a flaw I can personally live with.

 

They lost their own 'my-growing-up-was-crap-I'm-a-victim-too' card the moment they chose to seriously victimize another human being. Lot's of folks had shit childhoods. And plenty of people have used their upbringing to do something positive instead. So the idea that someone 'had no choice' but to torture and kill a little girl......that is total BS.

 

This is exactly my problemwith the death penalty. Most of our discussion is about what the victimizers deserve, instead of how we could have prevented the murder in the first place. Besides, I’ll probably catch a lot of shit for this, but how do you know that today’s victim of rape, molestation, abuse, etc. isn’t going to become a victimizer themselves? The same children that we are seeking justice for could end up on death row in a few decades. To me it seems kind of pointless.

 

If our society is charged with punishing criminals by means that include death, we should also consider that we (people who are not directly involved with the crime) would rather see less taxes taken out of our paychecks than pay for preventative therapies. We react with disgust when someone who has been in and out of prison their whole lives commits a senseless act, but rarely think about the lives that could have been saved if the criminals were rehabbed instead of thrown in jail. But that would take a lot more scratch than people are currently willing to put up.

 

No surprise here; I’m against the death penalty, and for many more reasons than just public apathy up to the moment that a child is killed. Error is another reason why we should not be killing people. I also find it rather sad that many people would rather pay to kill someone instead of rehabbing them.

 

 

Just wanted to add one more thing for Nivek, it seems like you are defending killing someone who is directly threatening a person. I see no problem with killing someone who is trying to kill you.

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Guest Shiva H. Vishnu
I’ll probably catch a lot of shit for this, but how do you know that today’s victim of rape, molestation, abuse, etc. isn’t going to become a victimizer themselves? The same children that we are seeking justice for could end up on death row in a few decades. To me it seems kind of pointless.

 

Excellent point, D.

 

I see no problem with killing someone who is trying to kill you.

 

Who does?

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Although I would object to the paraphrasing of my position as "ooh thats icky", I'm actually making both arguments. And since I've been talking to you I've been trying to focus on our level of uncertainty as opposed to the "icky" factor. So why don't we focus on that?

 

I know you have, and I wasn't talking about your position, I was talking about other peoples in a sweeping generalisation.

 

It's also naive to assume that every time someone is confronted with a choice of whether or not to commit a crime that we are all on a level moral playing field. Someone who has been treated with violence is more likely to respond with violence then someone who hasn't had to deal with it and been conditioned to it. Someone who has always had tons of money is far less likely to break in to your home and take your tv then someone who grew up in the projects eating government cheese sandwiches. According to statistics, blacks are several times more likely to commit a death penalty offense than whites. Why? Are blacks bad? Or are we putting the lives of people in the hands of other people who may have any number of prejudices and therefor may not make a just decision? We can tolerate that risk as long as it's not the final word. If death is out of the picture then they have the rest of their lives to prove their innocence. According to a website linked in this thread it doesn't cost us any more to keep em alive.

 

So, why kill.

 

Then why incarcerate or punish? If we are just 'victims' and products of society, why do any of that?

 

If we can't even follow a level of certainty regarding the accused committing a crime, how can we be justified in punishing them at all?

 

What if execution was made cheaper and more efficient than letting them live?

 

 

Interesting points, Shiva, I have a lot to think about.

 

Did Asimov just accept that someone else may have a point regarding the death penalty? Is Asimov not actually all testosterone all the time?

 

Just kidding with you, Asimov

 

:P

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Guest Shiva H. Vishnu
Then why incarcerate or punish? If we are just 'victims' and products of society, why do any of that?

 

If we can't even follow a level of certainty regarding the accused committing a crime, how can we be justified in punishing them at all?

 

I believe this is known as reductio ad absurdum.

 

What if execution was made cheaper and more efficient than letting them live?

 

I'm against the death penalty on so many other levels it wouldn't matter to me. Cost effeciency is but one argument, and to me the weakest.

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I wonder what if there is actual genes and brain behavioural chemicals for all kinds of crimes?

Would the Death Penalty be then invalidated or would it be immoral to change the genes and chemicals?

What's your opinion?

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Then why incarcerate or punish? If we are just 'victims' and products of society, why do any of that?

 

If we can't even follow a level of certainty regarding the accused committing a crime, how can we be justified in punishing them at all?

 

I believe this is known as reductio ad absurdum.

 

:)

 

 

 

 

I commited a logical fallacy, I can argue no more.

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I never really understood reductio ad absurdum until I commited it. Hehe. Good job, Shiva.

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I'm not often strongly utilitarian, but I think in this case it is appropriate to be so. Violent crime needs to be dealt with in a way that contributes/protects the greater society. The most pragmatic approach to this is to keep those who are dangerous separate from society so that they can harm no more.

 

The death penalty is problematic for a number of reasons. First, democratic society seeks not only its own self interest, but revenge. As we have seen even on this board, society can be irrational and can resort to hyperbole as they argue for their own blood thirsty revenge. This causes government to implement draconian laws and causes mistakes to be made in an overly aggressive attempt to exact "justice," whatever that is.

 

Secondly, the death penalty has zero effect on the rate of violent crime. In school I did a study comparing the impacts on violent crime. States that have the death penalty actually showed that the death penalty had a statistically significant positive correlation. In other words, the death penalty was actually shown to have increased not decreased violent crime. Personally I think that the findings were a bit spurious, but nevertheless, we know that the DP does not decrease violent crime.

 

Finally, it actually costs tax payers more money to kill a prisoner than to lock him up for life.

 

Americans have more people in prison than any country in the world. This is not a per capita stat. I would say that Americans have failed in their attempts to reduce crime, violent crime, and in their handling of those who commit crime.

 

The only reason to use the DP is to satisfy the emotional desires of the greatest number of voters. This is not an appropriate use of government IMO. But then I'm pretty much opposed to using the government to create "the great society."

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Guest Shiva H. Vishnu

Damn, Mr. Fire Department, it's like we were seperated at birth. I can always count on you. :HaHa:

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Then why incarcerate or punish? If we are just 'victims' and products of society, why do any of that?

 

Incarcerate not to punish, but to protect society.

 

What if execution was made cheaper and more efficient than letting them live?

 

This could absolutely be done but the results could get hairy. The costs are due to the appeals process. Speeding up the appeals process or deleting it altogether could lead to even more false applications and even more would slip through the cracks.

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Guest Shiva H. Vishnu

I never really understood reductio ad absurdum until I commited it. Hehe. Good job, Shiva.

 

:thanks:

 

I figured it was time to go the logic route. I got lucky. I'm no logician. Reductio is one of the few fallacies I immediately recognise because I commit it all the time. :grin:

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