# The Death Penalty

#### Bomb#20

##### Contributor
I'm not advocating executing stupid or unlucky people.
No, just the mentally ill.

I mean you talk about it like mental illness is something that is easy to just conclude on. You talk like a person who has nothing more than a "gut" level understanding of psychology.

Heck, we going to put a needle in a psychopath, but let the guy who murdered his wife so he could pork someone half his age live in the prison until he can get parole? At least the mentally unwell person might have not actually known better. The Menendez Brothers who murdered their parents and tried to cover it via lies of abuse live in prison while we kill the mentally ill. It'd almost seem like it should be the other way around.
Your argument takes for granted that the Menendez brothers and the guy who murdered his wife so he could pork someone half his age are not mentally ill. That strikes me as a dubious premise.

#### Swammerdami

Staff member
I am solipsistic (or narcissistic) enough to give my own views on capital punishment, despite that those views are incomplete and useless.

First and foremost, states like Texas (or perhaps the entire U.S.A. more generally) have too bad a justice system to be allowed to execute convicts. Their justice is too racist, and too likely to convict innocent persons. There are several instances where states like Texas have gone forward with executions despite significant reason to think the condemned person was actually innocent.

But what about a hypothetical country, where innocent persons were found innocent, and justice was applied equally without racial biases? In that case I regard the treatment of the convicted murderer as irrelevant. Less than 0.001% of the population will ever be charged with murder. Is it important whether a small number of murderers be executed or spend their lives in prison instead? No. What IS important is the message society sends to the 99.999% who are non-murderers. Does society want to send the message "Crime will be punished" or the message "No human is beyond redemption" ?

So which message should society send? Both messages have some validity. Which message is more useful may depend on the particular status of the society. But Americans need not ponder this moral quandary: U.S. justice is simply too flawed to allow capital punishment.

#### Coleman Smith

##### Member
Should the government be trusted to kill people?

#### bilby

##### Fair dinkum thinkum
Should the government be trusted to kill people?
Given that it now spends ~50% of its discretionary budget on the military, I would say that it’s a bit too late to start asking that question.

#### TomC

##### Celestial Highness
Or in other words, "I am prepared to die, but there is no cause for which I am prepared to kill."
I was more brief than thorough and nuanced.

Self defense is definitely a thing. If someone feels legitimately under attack by someone else they should respond appropriately. Responding is morally different from attacking.

If it gets so dire that defense requires lethal response, then the responder isn't choosing death for someone. They're choosing who will die. But the choice to kill has been made by the assailant. The responder is just choosing that it be the assailant dying, instead of them.
It's worth keeping in mind, though, that the reason Gandhi was able to save India with nonviolence was that the people oppressing India were good people.

Here's another good Ghandi story. It's been years ago, so I'll paraphrase.

Young Man: But Ghandi, you can't always be a pacifist.
What if you were walking down a dark alley and some murderers with knives attacked you.
You'd have to fight back!

Ghandi: I don't go into dark alleys.

Tom

#### Jimmy Higgins

##### Contributor
I'm not advocating executing stupid or unlucky people.
No, just the mentally ill.

I mean you talk about it like mental illness is something that is easy to just conclude on. You talk like a person who has nothing more than a "gut" level understanding of psychology.

Heck, we going to put a needle in a psychopath, but let the guy who murdered his wife so he could pork someone half his age live in the prison until he can get parole? At least the mentally unwell person might have not actually known better. The Menendez Brothers who murdered their parents and tried to cover it via lies of abuse live in prison while we kill the mentally ill. It'd almost seem like it should be the other way around.
Your argument takes for granted that the Menendez brothers and the guy who murdered his wife so he could pork someone half his age are not mentally ill. That strikes me as a dubious premise.
Depends on how broad you want to make the term "mentally ill".

#### TSwizzle

##### Let's Go Brandon!
I oppose the death penalty because the cops make mistakes, judges make mistakes, jurors make mistakes, and appeal judges make mistakes.
How about Jeffrey Dahmer. Do you think there were any mistakes made in his conviction and he was possibly innocent?
Jeffrey Dahmer was not sentenced to death but sentenced to life imprisonment for 17 murders.

That doesn't answer the question. Many people say they are against the death penalty for fear of killing an innocent person. There is no doubt Dahmer is guilty so for my purposes, he's eligible for being executed. Immediately.

Do I think he should have been executed by the state? My emotional response is that I would gladly pull that lever over and over and over again. My rational response is that he should have been sentenced to life, without any chance of parole, my only concern for him being in the general population being for the safety of his fellow prisoners and everyone who came into contact with him.
The more rational response is Dahmer be euthanized.

When the state decides to execute someone, it is making every citizen a party to the taking of another human being’s life.
I am fine with that.

#### TomC

##### Celestial Highness
There is no doubt Dahmer is guilty so for my purposes, he's eligible for being executed. Immediately.

Call me a hardcore ProLifer if you must, but I disagree.
I'm not OK with people feeling entitled to choose death for other people, except in self defense. Dahmer in prison wasn't a threat to anyone.

That said, I wouldn't have lost any sleep over him in front of a firing squad. My give a damn was way busted.
Tom

#### Toni

##### Contributor
I oppose the death penalty because the cops make mistakes, judges make mistakes, jurors make mistakes, and appeal judges make mistakes.
How about Jeffrey Dahmer. Do you think there were any mistakes made in his conviction and he was possibly innocent?
Jeffrey Dahmer was not sentenced to death but sentenced to life imprisonment for 17 murders.

That doesn't answer the question. Many people say they are against the death penalty for fear of killing an innocent person. There is no doubt Dahmer is guilty so for my purposes, he's eligible for being executed. Immediately.

Do I think he should have been executed by the state? My emotional response is that I would gladly pull that lever over and over and over again. My rational response is that he should have been sentenced to life, without any chance of parole, my only concern for him being in the general population being for the safety of his fellow prisoners and everyone who came into contact with him.
The more rational response is Dahmer be euthanized.

When the state decides to execute someone, it is making every citizen a party to the taking of another human being’s life.
I am fine with that.
The potential of executing a person not guilty of the crime is one reason to oppose the dearth penalty. But I oppose the death penalty because I believe that it is morally wrong for the government to execute a person. Full stop. Even though I understand the practical and emotional reasons to do so.

#### Tigers!

##### Veteran Member
The premise that some human beings are entitled to choose death for other human beings doesn't work for me. That premise is one of the worst assumptions humans make. The biggest cause of degradation to the human situation.

To me, that's the meaning of "immoral". People feeling entitled to degrade the human situation. From war to environmental destruction, from abortion to capital punishment, it's all immoral.

People choosing death for other people is the root of all evil.
Tom
Or in other words, "I am prepared to die, but there is no cause for which I am prepared to kill."

It's worth keeping in mind, though, that the reason Gandhi was able to save India with nonviolence was that the people oppressing India were good people. Gandhi recommended to his country's British oppressors that they likewise save their own country from their own oppressor with nonviolence too. Are any of us in any doubt about how that would have worked out?
If Gandhi had tried his non-violence against a Stalin or a Pol Pot the results would have been very nasty.

#### Wiploc

##### Veteran Member
A major topic, the death penalty. Is it cruel and unusual punishment? ...
... the death penalty. Is it cruel and unusual punishment?

I read Figures of Speech: Sixty Ways to Turn a Phrase;
I now believe that "cruel and unusual" means "unusually
cruel." So, where the death penalty is common, it is not,
by definition, unusually cruel.

I doubt the founders would have thought so.

Right. They did executions back then, so executions weren't weird, weren't unusual.

Here in Washington in 1980. [details of a case] Should such a person forfeit his life for having taken three lives?

Should he? I may not understand the question.

The motives for punishment are rehabilitation, deterrence, isolation, and vengeance.

1. Rehabilitation: This generally doesn't work. People tend get harder in prison, worse, more damaged, more dangerous. In this particular case, the authorities say the perp is reformed, but you are skeptical. Maybe this has to do with a mistrust of psychiatrists? We know what the person did, but we don't know whether he'll do it again. And because we don't know, we want him in custody.

Squeaky Fromme tried to murder President Ford, and then, according to her lawyers, she reformed. I don't care whether she thinks she is reformed, whether experts think she is reformed, whether she is actually reformed. You shouldn't get to walk around free after trying to kill a president. Maybe this is a deterrence trumping rehabilitation: I want it seen that bad things happen to those who try to overthrow the government.

In any case, rehabilitation is a weak reed. We warehouse criminals; we don't cure them.

2. Deterrence: Experts -- them again -- say the death penalty causes more killing, not less. The death penalty, like a violent video game, stimulates people to go out and kill.

If so, then I'm against executing this perp and all others. It's not that I care about him. It might be cool if a cellmate stabbed him. But the government shouldn't have a policy that gets more people murdered.

And anyway, even if the experts are right, if we wanted the death penalty to provide significant deterrence, we wouldn't need an electric chair; we'd need electric bleachers. Executions would have to be quick, and they'd have to happen wholesale.

I've known too many bad judges to think that's a good idea.

3. Isolation has some promise. Typhoid Mary was locked up for life. It wasn't even a criminal case. She was infected, and she insisted in working in kitchens, so County Health put her in storage permanently. Isolated her so she couldn't repeat her crime.

I think a big part of demand for the death penalty is the fear that bad people will be parolled. Secure isolation, an actual never-to-be-parolled life sentence, would lessen our desire for a death penalty.

4. Vengeance isn't a proper function of government. Killing for the gratification of the people may be understandable in circumstances, but -- if it is to be done at all -- you should do it yourself, not ask your government to do it.

Conclusion: In individual cases, the death sentence may seem like fun, but I suspect it's not good policy to have a governmental execution system in place.

#### Jarhyn

##### Wizard
Conclusion: In individual cases, the death sentence may seem like fun, but I suspect it's not good policy to have a governmental execution system in place.
I disagree. For individuals who have significant political power and have displayed repeated brazen use of it to subvert the peaceful exchange of power, and for whom stochastic terrorism is not only a potential ability but a reified one, and who knows secrets which they could divulge to parties adjacent to them, no matter how well meaning those parties are, to negative effect, I support whole heatedly laws designed to remove them from the earth.

What else do you do with a person who has a head full of nuclear secrets that not even the most well meaning jail guards should be burdened with keeping, and who if they manage to communicate can order hits by a sycophantic mob, and who relishes greatly in doing so and in the sewing of chaos, and for which there are human agents seeking to infiltrate so as to exfiltrate such chaos?

It's kind of like bomb disposal: we don't leave unstable shit capable of going boom, and the only way to keep something that unstable from causing terrible consequences is controlled disposal.

#### Wiploc

##### Veteran Member
Conclusion: In individual cases, the death sentence may seem like fun, but I suspect it's not good policy to have a governmental execution system in place.
I disagree. For individuals who have significant political power and have displayed repeated brazen use of it to subvert the peaceful exchange of power, and for whom stochastic terrorism is not only a potential ability but a reified one, and who knows secrets which they could divulge to parties adjacent to them, no matter how well meaning those parties are, to negative effect, I support whole heatedly laws designed to remove them from the earth.
[/QUOTE]

I'm sorry, we elected them. You think that if we replaced the pensions, honors, and secret service details with executions, then we'd get better presidents?

What else do you do with a person who has a head full of nuclear secrets that not even the most well meaning jail guards should be burdened with keeping, and who if they manage to communicate can order hits by a sycophantic mob, and who relishes greatly in doing so and in the sewing of chaos, and for which there are human agents seeking to infiltrate so as to exfiltrate such chaos?
[/QUOTE]

I don't know much about the Dryfus case. Oh, wait, you're describing Ghandi from the British perspective?

It's kind of like bomb disposal: we don't leave unstable shit capable of going boom, and the only way to keep something that unstable from causing terrible consequences is controlled disposal.

So, Abraham, Martin, and John? Or were those extracaricular?

We know Nixon and Trump used government assets to persecute their enemies. We must assume there were others. We must assume there will be more in the future. I don't like leaving a mechanism in place that they can use to execute political opponants with plausible justification.

Let me make clear that I do not oppose the death penalty in principle: Some people need killing.

What I object to is handing that power to idiot judges and corrupt politicians, and saying, "Here's something you can do to [blacks and liberals] without getting your hands dirty." You may of course substitute for the part in brackets.

#### steve_bank

##### Diabetic retinopathy and poor eyesight. Typos ...
What is meant by Star Chamber?

The term star chamber refers pejoratively to any secret or closed meeting held by a judicial or executive body, or to a court proceeding that seems grossly unfair or that is used to persecute an individual.

The objection I have to the death penalty is primarily irreversible error.

Here in Seattle fear of police and prosecution does not seem to limit assaults and murders.

The trditional argument was the death penalty was a deterrent.

Is the death penalty cruel and unusual? In itself I do not think so.

Some progressives today argue incarceration is cruel and unusual punishment. The idea being criminals are victims of society.

It coes down to what is necessary to maintain civil order. Here in the Seattle area reducng fear increases crime. It s not just me, politician are cumming around to realizing the progressive policies on crime have made things worse.

Yesterday on camera the mayor of Everetet Wa said the derimnalizng of drigs while well intentioned only made things worse.

You can't terreatt the death personalty as an isolyatd moral question.

#### Jarhyn

##### Wizard
I'm sorry, we elected them. You think that if we replaced the pensions, honors, and secret service details with executions, then we'd get better presidents?
No, I think that if someone is given access to information like that and proven that they can't not abuse it in ways ridiculously dangerous to anyone, they are toxic waste in the same vein as WW2 era chemical weapons, and we need to safely destroy it rather than waiting for it to blow up.

I argue this is true of anyone, but especially president.

I expect we would get better presidents if everyone who ever decided to store classified nuclear documents in the basement of an unlocked basement with heavy nearby foot traffic, or to do anything similarly foolish without reporting the orders to authorities for investigation, needs to have their lease on life reevaluated.

I would only design to replace honors with executions when the action in question involves the gross mishandling of nuclear secrets. Maybe then criminals like Mango Mussolini might consider that to be "too hot to handle".

#### Jarhyn

##### Wizard
Some progressives today argue incarceration is cruel and unusual punishment. The idea being criminals are victims of society.
No, the argument is merely that punishment serves no utility function: It doesn't reduce recidivism, so how do you expect it to reduce recidivism?

Instead, we argue corrections should actually be the things that work. Treating criminals like human beings and rewarding them for good behavior and just not feeding anything to the bad behavior at all works much more effectively.

Likewise teaching them empathy and useful trades works.

Sometimes psychiatric treatment and pills work.

Sometimes just picking up weed works.

Criminals are only the victims of society when we uselessly torture them.

#### Elixir

Criminals are only the victims of society when we uselessly torture them.

That would be when we torture them.
Nonetheless, leave me alone in a room with Donald Trump...
(And yes, that very impulse is why we can't have nice things.)

#### steve_bank

##### Diabetic retinopathy and poor eyesight. Typos ...
Some progressives today argue incarceration is cruel and unusual punishment. The idea being criminals are victims of society.
No, the argument is merely that punishment serves no utility function: It doesn't reduce recidivism, so how do you expect it to reduce recidivism?

Instead, we argue corrections should actually be the things that work. Treating criminals like human beings and rewarding them for good behavior and just not feeding anything to the bad behavior at all works much more effectively.

Likewise teaching them empathy and useful trades works.

Sometimes psychiatric treatment and pills work.

Sometimes just picking up weed works.

Criminals are only the victims of society when we uselessly torture them.
Fear works.

In the early 70s when I got out of the militray I started out in rough neigborhoods.

I quickly learned drug dealers and pimps were far more afraid of other criminals than the police. One learned to mind one;s own business.

Please stop the derail to Trump. Take it to [poltics.

#### Jarhyn

##### Wizard
Criminals are only the victims of society when we uselessly torture them.

That would be when we torture them.
Nonetheless, leave me alone in a room with Donald Trump...
That's the thing.

I wouldn't want to be alone in a room with him. He could say various things that I then would be responsible for not repeating. People would force me to prove my trustworthiness to not repeat what it is uncertain was or was not said.

I would much rather he be held in a soundproof room then be left in there as the air is removed as quickly as possible.

Yes I would enjoy watching it, but that's beside the point.

I would as soon never build such an evil monster in the first place as someone we have vetted that we CANNOT trust who we nonetheless let idiots give such things to because our election laws are fucking  stupid, but here we are with a turd in the toilet and it's stinking up the house, and if we don't do something soon the flies will lay eggs and then we'll have a house full of flies covered in shit.

This isn't about punishment but what to do with solid human waste.

#### Coleman Smith

##### Member
Cops make errors, judges make errors, appeal judges make errors.

An erroneous execution can't be corrected.

#### Wiploc

##### Veteran Member
Cops make errors, judges make errors, appeal judges make errors.

An erroneous execution can't be corrected.
This may understate the case. Not everything they do wrong is done wrong accidentally.

#### Copernicus

There's the irretrievable error objection to capital punishment, but my main objection is different--that capital punishment is a form of revenge killing. Many murderers justify their behavior as an appropriate punishment for their victims. When the government does the same thing, it only reinforces that kind of motive as socially acceptable and justifiable. The thirst for revenge can be insatiable. Revenge negates respect for life.

#### Jarhyn

##### Wizard
There's the irretrievable error objection to capital punishment, but my main objection is different--that capital punishment is a form of revenge killing. Many murderers justify their behavior as an appropriate punishment for their victims. When the government does the same thing, it only reinforces that kind of motive as socially acceptable and justifiable. The thirst for revenge can be insatiable. Revenge negates respect for life.
Hence why it cannot ever be anything like revenge. I don't stand against killings for which revenge may, accidentally, find satisfaction however for me it is about the risk vs trust function, not of political loss but of material risk of existential peril for everyone.

That implies very narrow applicability not of a death penalty but of the proper handling of existentially toxic things

#### steve_bank

##### Diabetic retinopathy and poor eyesight. Typos ...
A guy guy walked into a coffee shop and assassinated 4 police officers. Cold premeditated murder.

The guy who drove the car got 402 years. He recurrently had a re-sentencing hearing based on some things the prosecution said in his trial. He claims he never knew what the shooter was going to do.

Families of the slain officers were outraged and in tears at the idea of the guy getting a reduced sentence.

The shooter was killed during apprehension.

Maurice Clemmons (February 6, 1972 – December 1, 2009) was identified as the shooter in the November 29, 2009 murder of four police officers in Parkland, Washington.[4] After evading police for two days following the shooting, Clemmons was shot and killed by a police officer in Seattle.

Prior to his involvement in the shooting, Clemmons had five felony convictions in Arkansas and eight felony charges in Washington.[5] His first incarceration began in 1989, at age 17. Facing sentences totaling 108 years in prison, the burglary sentences were reduced in 2000 by Governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee to 47 years, which made him immediately eligible for parole. The Arkansas Parole Board unanimously moved to release him in 2000. Clemmons was subsequently arrested on other charges and was jailed several times. In the months prior to the Parkland shooting, he was in jail on charges of assaulting a police officer and raping a child. One week prior to the Parkland shooting, he was released from jail after posting a $150,000 bail bond. If nothing else capital punishment can represent a sense of justice and closure for friends and family. The idea of someone killing their family members and being alive in prison I would expect be a lifelong cloud. TThe left has swung the justice system to favor criminal rights over victims' rights. #### Copernicus ##### Industrial Grade Linguist There's the irretrievable error objection to capital punishment, but my main objection is different--that capital punishment is a form of revenge killing. Many murderers justify their behavior as an appropriate punishment for their victims. When the government does the same thing, it only reinforces that kind of motive as socially acceptable and justifiable. The thirst for revenge can be insatiable. Revenge negates respect for life. Hence why it cannot ever be anything like revenge. I don't stand against killings for which revenge may, accidentally, find satisfaction however for me it is about the risk vs trust function, not of political loss but of material risk of existential peril for everyone. That implies very narrow applicability not of a death penalty but of the proper handling of existentially toxic things That makes no sense at all to me. There is no death penalty in the EU and in a great many other countries around the world. Do you have any evidence to back up your claim of this existential threat? I invite you to use some of those countries to back up your argument that countries with a death penalty experience less of this vague "existential peril". I think that most people who support the death penalty do so, because they believe it will have a greater effect of deterring the crimes and that it is a way of getting back at the killers--especially on behalf of the victims and their loved ones. #### Tigers! ##### Veteran Member There's the irretrievable error objection to capital punishment, but my main objection is different--that capital punishment is a form of revenge killing. Many murderers justify their behavior as an appropriate punishment for their victims. When the government does the same thing, it only reinforces that kind of motive as socially acceptable and justifiable. The thirst for revenge can be insatiable. Revenge negates respect for life. What about justice? You always mention revenge, never justice. It is possible to build a a system with justice for the victims. Granted the Anglo countries have certainly wobbled from that. #### Copernicus ##### Industrial Grade Linguist There's the irretrievable error objection to capital punishment, but my main objection is different--that capital punishment is a form of revenge killing. Many murderers justify their behavior as an appropriate punishment for their victims. When the government does the same thing, it only reinforces that kind of motive as socially acceptable and justifiable. The thirst for revenge can be insatiable. Revenge negates respect for life. What about justice? You always mention revenge, never justice. It is possible to build a a system with justice for the victims. Granted the Anglo countries have certainly wobbled from that. My point is that many murderers justify their actions with the belief that their act of murder was justice. Revenge is about settling scores--i.e. getting justice. #### steve_bank ##### Diabetic retinopathy and poor eyesight. Typos ... There's the irretrievable error objection to capital punishment, but my main objection is different--that capital punishment is a form of revenge killing. Many murderers justify their behavior as an appropriate punishment for their victims. When the government does the same thing, it only reinforces that kind of motive as socially acceptable and justifiable. The thirst for revenge can be insatiable. Revenge negates respect for life. What about justice? You always mention revenge, never justice. It is possible to build a a system with justice for the victims. Granted the Anglo countries have certainly wobbled from that. My point is that many murderers justify their actions with the belief that their act of murder was justice. Revenge is about settling scores--i.e. getting justice. Can you elaborate on 'many murderers justify their actions with the belief that their act of murder was justice.'? Yesterday about three blocks from me at Yesler and 3rd two people were shot in an apparent random drive by shooting. There are gang related murders, murders during robbery, road rage shootings, neighbor disputes resulting in gun play, and andom shootins but I have e never heard a report on a revenge killing. Yiu could say gnag related murders can be motivated by revenge and they feel justfied. #### Jarhyn ##### Wizard Do you have any evidence to back up your claim of this existential threat How do you expect the world should have handled Hitler, had he been taken alive. Should Hitler have been executed? Should Putin be executed? We have plenty of folks here who hope someone even gets extrajudicial about that one. What is the threshold for the removal of a supremely problematic person? When it comes to nonhumans, we kill them when they have demonstrated even an accidental tendency to gore individual people. When it comes to humans, I think there is still a threshold, it's just much higher. Nuclear secrets in a pool house basement, repeatedly lying about having those secrets, and knowing what those secrets are mean that at the very least we have to secure a human being as securely as we would expect those documents to be secured, guard them with people we would necessarily have to be able to trust with knowing those things, and I don't think it's really worth all the pain and suffering of doing that. The remaining 5 years of that person's life simply aren't worth the risk. #### Playball40 ##### Veteran Member Willie Crane is one that I felt nothing about him being put to death. But I also have no problem admitting it is purely revenge and hatred. I hope he was TERRIFIED. That said, I'm generally AGAINST the death penalty because it's too often applied to innocent people and certainly isn't applied equally. I also couldn't be the one to condemn one to death (unless he's Willy Crane). #### Coleman Smith ##### Member Cops make errors, judges make errors, appeal judges make errors. An erroneous execution can't be corrected. This may understate the case. Not everything they do wrong is done wrong accidentally. Example: ### Former KCK detective accused of exploiting women arrested Thursday by the FBI​ Part of my job as a claims adjuster for almost 40 years was to handle claims for insurance companies that insured police departments including every thing from simple automobile accidents to cops operating burgulary rings out of their patrol cars. After retirement one patrol officer I met at the gym said he saw me coming out of his lutenists office so many times that until he learned who I was he thought I was a detective. BTW: The two professions that are most likely to take the 5th when they are a person of interest or a suspect are lawyers and cops. If I were a person of interest I would not even discuss the metric system with them. #### Tigers! ##### Veteran Member There's the irretrievable error objection to capital punishment, but my main objection is different--that capital punishment is a form of revenge killing. Many murderers justify their behavior as an appropriate punishment for their victims. When the government does the same thing, it only reinforces that kind of motive as socially acceptable and justifiable. The thirst for revenge can be insatiable. Revenge negates respect for life. What about justice? You always mention revenge, never justice. It is possible to build a a system with justice for the victims. Granted the Anglo countries have certainly wobbled from that. My point is that many murderers justify their actions with the belief that their act of murder was justice. Revenge is about settling scores--i.e. getting justice. Equating revenge by criminals with justice delivered through the acts of a supposedly neutral 3rd party is not correct. You might as well say any sentence passed down is revenge based. #### bilby ##### Fair dinkum thinkum There's the irretrievable error objection to capital punishment, but my main objection is different--that capital punishment is a form of revenge killing. Many murderers justify their behavior as an appropriate punishment for their victims. When the government does the same thing, it only reinforces that kind of motive as socially acceptable and justifiable. The thirst for revenge can be insatiable. Revenge negates respect for life. What about justice? You always mention revenge, never justice. It is possible to build a a system with justice for the victims. Granted the Anglo countries have certainly wobbled from that. My point is that many murderers justify their actions with the belief that their act of murder was justice. Revenge is about settling scores--i.e. getting justice. Equating revenge by criminals with justice delivered through the acts of a supposedly neutral 3rd party is not correct. You might as well say any sentence passed down is revenge based. It is. The entire point of a criminal justice system is to take revenge, so that victims don't feel the need to do it themselves. This is a hopeful but often difficult attempt to limit the vicious cycle of the vendetta; The idea is that the victims will feel sufficiently satisfied as to take things no further. Of course, victims tend to wildly overestimate the level of penalty that is appropriate, and setting the penalty low enough to be civilised, while also making it high enough to satisfy the victim's thirst for vengeance, is a very tricky balancing act. Mob justice is no less ugly when it's state sanctioned. #### Copernicus ##### Industrial Grade Linguist There's the irretrievable error objection to capital punishment, but my main objection is different--that capital punishment is a form of revenge killing. Many murderers justify their behavior as an appropriate punishment for their victims. When the government does the same thing, it only reinforces that kind of motive as socially acceptable and justifiable. The thirst for revenge can be insatiable. Revenge negates respect for life. What about justice? You always mention revenge, never justice. It is possible to build a a system with justice for the victims. Granted the Anglo countries have certainly wobbled from that. My point is that many murderers justify their actions with the belief that their act of murder was justice. Revenge is about settling scores--i.e. getting justice. Can you elaborate on 'many murderers justify their actions with the belief that their act of murder was justice.'? Yesterday about three blocks from me at Yesler and 3rd two people were shot in an apparent random drive by shooting. There are gang related murders, murders during robbery, road rage shootings, neighbor disputes resulting in gun play, and andom shootins but I have e never heard a report on a revenge killing. Yiu could say gnag related murders can be motivated by revenge and they feel justfied. Please notice that I said "many murderers", not "all murderers" or "most murderers". I obviously hedged on the quantifier, because I don't really have an idea of the exact number, but I am confident that "many murderers" is a sufficient description. I cannot comment on your own experiences, but I don't think you've really scratched the surface of how many murders are considered justified by those who commit them. I just note that we all have a strong tendency to rationalize decisions we make. After all, there are a lot of Americans who feel that they were right to vote for Donald Trump. #### Copernicus ##### Industrial Grade Linguist Equating revenge by criminals with justice delivered through the acts of a supposedly neutral 3rd party is not correct. You might as well say any sentence passed down is revenge based. I wasn't equating anything. I don't think people like to think of capital punishment as society, victims, or the public getting revenge, but, in discussion threads like this, it usually boils down to people asking questions like "What about Hitler? How would you deal with that?" The thing is that most murderers are not Hitler. They come from all walks of life, and the murders they commit can sometimes be understandable, if not justifiable. Nevertheless, the law has to be applied equally to everyone, not just those who commit mass murder on Hitler's scale. Sorry Godwin lovers! #### Copernicus ##### Industrial Grade Linguist The entire point of a criminal justice system is to take revenge, so that victims don't feel the need to do it themselves. This is a hopeful but often difficult attempt to limit the vicious cycle of the vendetta; The idea is that the victims will feel sufficiently satisfied as to take things no further. Of course, victims tend to wildly overestimate the level of penalty that is appropriate, and setting the penalty low enough to be civilised, while also making it high enough to satisfy the victim's thirst for vengeance, is a very tricky balancing act. Mob justice is no less ugly when it's state sanctioned. I agree, and I don't think that judges and juries should have the discretion to do that when it comes to ending a human life. If your reasoning here is correct, then those who feel most aggrieved by the murder should be the ones turning thumbs up or down on the penalty. Not all of them will necessarily want the murderer executed. A lot of people would like to see capital punishment for other crimes, as well, and maybe we should bring back torture-executions as an extra option. So I think that capital punishment is not a good idea. In fact, the penalty is actually applied so rarely, haphazardly, unevenly, and cruelly, that I do think it ought to be ruled out as unconstitutional in the US. #### Wiploc ##### Veteran Member There's the irretrievable error objection to capital punishment, but my main objection is different--that capital punishment is a form of revenge killing. Many murderers justify their behavior as an appropriate punishment for their victims. When the government does the same thing, it only reinforces that kind of motive as socially acceptable and justifiable. The thirst for revenge can be insatiable. Revenge negates respect for life. What about justice? You always mention revenge, never justice. It is possible to build a a system with justice for the victims. Granted the Anglo countries have certainly wobbled from that. You want us to bring the victims back to life, or what? #### steve_bank ##### Diabetic retinopathy and poor eyesight. Typos ... At Nuremberg the Russians wanted to line up all Nazis and summarily hang them. The Allies and rule of law prevailed. Some were executed, some jailed, and some released. There was hypocrysis. Wern VonBarin whi o oversaw some of the worse slave labor in his rocket factory got a pass because we wanted his rocket expertise. Over here he became an American science hero. IMO he shoud have been hung. Tojo was executed. The Japanese emperor was given a pass because he was considered important for post war Japanese stability. #### TomC ##### Celestial Highness What about justice? You always mention revenge, never justice. It is possible to build a a system with justice for the victims. Granted the Anglo countries have certainly wobbled from that. I'm not sure what you mean by "justice" in this post. It sure sounds like raw vengeance to me. I find vengeance, as a concept, primitive ethics. It's immoral and irrational, IMHO. Building a system to accomplish that is ugly. There is a tiny fraction of criminals who can continue to cause deaths and mayhem from a prison cell. Terrorist leaders and drug lords come to mind. I'm sure that the public execution of Saddam Hussein prevented many innocent people from being murdered. It removed "Free Saddam" from the list of motivations for blowing up market places. Equating revenge by criminals with justice delivered through the acts of a supposedly neutral 3rd party is not correct. You might as well say any sentence passed down is revenge based. I've little trust in the neutrality of the 3rd parties you're referring to. Spending tons of taxpayer dollars to prosecute a capital case in order to pander to the ethically primitive voters is all too common. We taxpayers could spend a small fraction of the lawyer bills on prevention and rehabilitation and get better results. But that won't get as much political support from the ethically challenged. Tom #### Copernicus ##### Industrial Grade Linguist I'm sure that the public execution of Saddam Hussein prevented many innocent people from being murdered. It removed "Free Saddam" from the list of motivations for blowing up market places. Actually, I'm not at all sure of that. Afterwards, my wife and I were visiting India and decided to visit a mosque in Delhi. We encountered a rather large demonstration of emotional shouters carrying a casket. They were carrying a casket with the label "Saddam Hussein" on it. They wanted revenge. We tried not to look too much like American tourists. And then, of course, there was the fact that the military arm of ISIS was formed with the help of some of Saddam's army. There was never a more revenge-thirsty movement. #### Marvin Edwards ##### Veteran Member A major topic, the death penalty. Is it cruel and unusual punishment? I doubt the founders would have thought so. Here in Washington in 1980. a man killed 3 people and tortured two. One person was shot in the head while bound. One was strangled. He was sentenced to three life terms. Recently a parole board recommended parole saying he was rehabilitated and not a danger to society. Public outcry resulted in the governor overriding the decision. He was caught and admitted to it and was dismissive of the victims. There is no issue of the man not being guilty. Should such a person forfeit his life for having taken three lives? My objection to the death penalty is irreversible error, an innocent man being executed. That does not apply in this case. Would you have voted for parole? If you were on a jury would you vote for the death penalty? I've got to go with the formula for a just penalty: (A) Repair the harm to the victim if possible (in this case of multiple murders, impossible), (B) Correct the offender's future behavior if corrigible (weigh the risk of recidivism) (C) Secure the offender to protect others until his behavior is corrected (prison), and (D) Do no more harm to the offender and his rights than is necessary to accomplish (A), (B), and (C). Obviously, we're not going to bring any of the victims back to life, so (A) is off the table. If the offence is murder, then the harm of misdiagnosing whether he is (B) corrected is great. So, we want to exercise extreme caution before pronouncing the offender "rehabilitated" and "safe to release". Securing the offender in prison to prevent others from being murdered would seem reasonably necessary. But there is also the possibility that the offender will attempt to murder the guards or other prisoners. If this is the case, then I would support the death penalty, as it seems the only way to secure others. The demand of morality is that we do no unnecessary harm. And the death penalty, in most cases, is unnecessary to protect others. So, I would oppose it until it becomes necessary to protect other prisoners and guards. #### Tigers! ##### Veteran Member There's the irretrievable error objection to capital punishment, but my main objection is different--that capital punishment is a form of revenge killing. Many murderers justify their behavior as an appropriate punishment for their victims. When the government does the same thing, it only reinforces that kind of motive as socially acceptable and justifiable. The thirst for revenge can be insatiable. Revenge negates respect for life. What about justice? You always mention revenge, never justice. It is possible to build a a system with justice for the victims. Granted the Anglo countries have certainly wobbled from that. You want us to bring the victims back to life, or what? Can you do that? Such a flippant response. I expected better from you. No. What I would like is more reference to the victims, their families, friends, They have suffered a grievous loss . They will never see their loved one again. That should be be considered. But all we consider seems to be the criminal. We talk about their domineering mother, poor toilet training etc. Nothing to little about their deliberate culpability. Did they get a fair trial? How much the imprisonment will affect their poor mother. Pity the criminal didn't take such into consideration before the killing. #### Tigers! ##### Veteran Member What about justice? You always mention revenge, never justice. It is possible to build a a system with justice for the victims. Granted the Anglo countries have certainly wobbled from that. I'm not sure what you mean by "justice" in this post. It sure sounds like raw vengeance to me. I find vengeance, as a concept, primitive ethics. It's immoral and irrational, IMHO. Building a system to accomplish that is ugly. There is a tiny fraction of criminals who can continue to cause deaths and mayhem from a prison cell. Terrorist leaders and drug lords come to mind. I'm sure that the public execution of Saddam Hussein prevented many innocent people from being murdered. It removed "Free Saddam" from the list of motivations for blowing up market places. Equating revenge by criminals with justice delivered through the acts of a supposedly neutral 3rd party is not correct. You might as well say any sentence passed down is revenge based. I've little trust in the neutrality of the 3rd parties you're referring to. Spending tons of taxpayer dollars to prosecute a capital case in order to pander to the ethically primitive voters is all too common. We taxpayers could spend a small fraction of the lawyer bills on prevention and rehabilitation and get better results. But that won't get as much political support from the ethically challenged. Tom I didn't realise that desiring justice be served made me "ethically primitive". Learn something new every day. #### Hermit ##### Cantankerous grump I'm sure that the public execution of Saddam Hussein prevented many innocent people from being murdered. It removed "Free Saddam" from the list of motivations for blowing up market places. You're not thinking of Osama bin Laden by any chance? He is the only person I am aware of who has been justifiably executed without trial. The justification was to deprive Islamic terrorists of one motive to perpetrate acts of murder. #### Hermit ##### Cantankerous grump What I would like is more reference to the victims, their families, friends, They have suffered a grievous loss . They will never see their loved one again. Killing the murderers will never result in bringing the victims back to life and the their loved ones ever seeing them again either. Capital punishment is revenge. #### Wiploc ##### Veteran Member What about justice? You always mention revenge, never justice. It is possible to build a a system with justice for the victims. Granted the Anglo countries have certainly wobbled from that. You want us to bring the victims back to life, or what? Can you do that? Such a flippant response. I expected better from you. In speaking of motives for punishment, I addressed deterrence, rehabilitation, isolation, and vengeance (revenge). You said you want to talk about justice rather than vengeance. But you didn't say what you meant. Instead of explaining what you meant, you drifted off to talk about potty training. I don't see potty training as the core of this exercise, so I tried to bring you back on topic: If a thief steals$100, justice would have the thief make restitution in the amount of $100. That is justice. It's not even punishment. Restitution isn't based on deterrence, rehabilitation, isolation, or vengeance. The intent is to make the victim whole, not to cope with the perpetrator. I don't see how you can do anything like that in the case of murder. So I made that point, and I asked you to expound on what you mean by justice. No. What I would like is more reference to the victims, their families, friends, They have suffered a grievous loss . They will never see their loved one again. That should be be considered. Again, I invite you to expound. But all we consider seems to be the criminal. Yes, we want to deter other criminals, and we want to rehabilitate or isolate this criminal. We talk about their domineering mother, poor toilet training etc. I don't know where this comes from. Is anyone here other than you talking about potty training? Is this where I'm supposed to lament your flippancy and say I expected better from you? Nothing to little about their deliberate culpability. This would fall under deterrence, rehabilitation, and isolation. Typhoid Mary demonstrated that she'd be steadfast in her culpability, so she had to be isolated for the rest of her life. But if a kid steals her first cigarette, and it makes her sick, and she really repents of the theft, then she may not need any additional punishment. Did they get a fair trial? You astound me. How much the imprisonment will affect their poor mother. Pity the criminal didn't take such into consideration before the killing. Seriously, oh person from whom I expected better, will you now discuss your concept of justice (or your disdain for fair trials), or will you continue trying to bait and derail? #### TomC ##### Celestial Highness I didn't realise that desiring justice be served made me "ethically primitive". Learn something new every day. You've never said what you mean by justice. It's a very subjective term. For most of human history it was primitive. Justice included vendetta, escalation, group culpability, stuff like that. Mosaic justice was more sophisticated, "an eye for an eye" was better. Equal damage, only to the perp, then it's over with for good was a big improvement. But it still included putting out eyes with no more benefit than an injured party feeling better. I consider that ethically primitive justice. We can do better than that and it would be the moral thing to do. I say that as a citizen of a first world country, with plenty of resources and a representative government, not everyone has that. Here in the USA we can do far better than escalating vengeance. We can do better than Mosaic vengeance. Not doing better as a society is primitive immoral ethics. I'm opposed to primitive ethics. If you mean something else by "justice" please explain. Tom #### Jarhyn ##### Wizard justice would have the thief make restitution in the amount of$100
Rather, justice would see 100 dollars back in the pocket of the victim. It's not really important how it gets there.

Justice would see that there are as few times as possible where this restitution would need to be rendered, and render it consistently within reason.

Justice would see that when someone does these things for reasons whose goals remain or return a person to such means that the cycle of return is broken, assuming it injures the system less to fix it than tolerate it's continuance over the log term.

The only reason that punishment is seen as justice is that humans are irrational and when wronged build a desire for revenge that we can't always shake without seeing such regrettable 'consequences', and making someone suffer a little is preferable to spawning an otherwise implacable need to make someone suffer a lot.

But let's not imagine that this makes us anything but broken and weak creatures when the demand is this that we revenge ourselves.

#### Jimmy Higgins

##### Contributor
There's the irretrievable error objection to capital punishment, but my main objection is different--that capital punishment is a form of revenge killing. Many murderers justify their behavior as an appropriate punishment for their victims. When the government does the same thing, it only reinforces that kind of motive as socially acceptable and justifiable. The thirst for revenge can be insatiable. Revenge negates respect for life.
What about justice? You always mention revenge, never justice. It is possible to build a a system with justice for the victims. Granted the Anglo countries have certainly wobbled from that.

You want us to bring the victims back to life, or what?
Can you do that? Such a flippant response. I expected better from you.

No. What I would like is more reference to the victims, their families, friends, They have suffered a grievous loss .
Their loss is undefinable, unquantifiable, unbearable. How does that get equated into a particular judgment here or there that is equally applied to all perpetrators of a particular crime?

There is this talk about "Justice", just not much definition of it. There is the underlying knowledge that a person is caught and judged as to having committed a terrible crime. But then there is the public restitution. Where is the formula there? What is justice? What is the price they must pay? Can they manage to pay that price, become healed themselves, and move on? Do we want them to be able to? (<-- this is the hardest one to resolve)

The concept of "Justice" carries with it some myth and truth and hope and pain. Saying one demands "justice" is like going to a restaurant and demanding "food".

#### steve_bank

##### Diabetic retinopathy and poor eyesight. Typos ...
If you have been following the news.

A non-unanimous Florida jury has returned a verdict of life without parole for Nikolas Cruz, the teen offender convicted of killing 17 people in the February 14, 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (pictured) in Parkland, Florida. The October 13, 2022 verdict, in which three jurors voted to spare Cruz’s life, concluded a six-month sentencing trial. Florida law, like that of nearly every death-penalty state, requires a unanimous jury verdict before a

Prosecutors had rejected a defense offer in 2019 for Cruz to plead guilty and be sentenced to 34 consecutive life sentences. They remained adamant in their desire to pursue a death sentence in 2021 after Cruz pleaded guilty to 17 counts of murder and 17 counts of attempted murder.

Jurors unanimously found that the state had proven aggravating circumstances in each of the 17 counts of murder, but three jurors found that the mitigating evidence outweighed the aggravating evidence. The jury foreman, Benjamin Thomas, told CBS Miami that one juror had strongly believed that Cruz should not be sentenced to death because he was mentally ill and that two other jurors also voted to spare his life.

The outcome was reminiscent of the August 2015 life verdict imposed by a Colorado death-penalty jury in the Aurora movie theater mass shooting that killed 12 people and injured dozens more. In that case, James Holmes was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole after one juror stated her firm opposition to condemning Holmes because of his severe mental illness and two other jurors joined her in opposition to the death penalty.