Just In
for Some Misconceptions About the Death Penalty

7/21/2003 c1 11Imaginary Player
Can't believe I overlooked this essay, it's damn good (as usual). Excuse me if this turns into more of a spiel than an actual review.

My only beef with what you say is this: since the US has the highest incarceration in the world, our jails are becoming startlingly overcrowded with people every day. What's the use of banning the death penalty and letting more people stay in the jails? And since neither incarceration or the death penalty seem to be deterring crime, what's the problem with using it? I understand that some people think that it's inhumane, but what would you rather have: severely overcrowded prisons or *just* overcorwded ones? Still bad outcomes, but I'd choose the latter as the lesser of two evils.

The problem with America's justice system is that it (rather, the people who operate in its name)only sees locking people up and/or killing them as the only answer. I personally think that prisons should be used to rehabilitate inmates and make/remake them into constructive citizens of society instead of making them into cheap sources of labor as "punishment". Because of this, many of the convicts who get out aren't changed, but merely bitter; that's why you have so many repeat offenders. Instead of the focus being on trying to change the people, it's more about exacting revenge and punishing them.

As for money, I think we all know what needs to be done concerning monetary issues. ^_^
7/20/2003 c3 MauraMellon
Another wonderful essay (even more wonderful since I, once again, share your views).

I am wholeheartedly for banning the death penalty. For me, there is a personal responsibility involved. If it were me standing there with a the needle in my hand, I simply COULD NOT kill a person, if even they had murdered my family. I don't have that in me, and I don't think it's right to support a policy that I couldn't carry out myself.

Furthermore, mistakes are made all too easily. One innocent person's life lost through execution negates every guilty person put to death.

If you haven't seen it, I recommend an excellent movie called "Dancer in the Dark." It's about a woman who is going blind due to her heredity. She is eventually unfairly accused of murder and hanged. This film made a very powerful impression on me (as in, I was sobbing for a half hour afterwards...), and very much influenced my views on murder and the death penalty.
6/29/2003 c3 17chocoholic
Good essay, probubly the most thourough (sp?) argument i've ever come across for banning the death penalty. It's also one of the only subjects I am completely against and not wavering somewhere inbetween pro and anti. I won't explain why you've done a much better job!

Oh, and admiral, are you contradicting yourself every paragraph on purpose, or is it some sort of problem you have?
6/29/2003 c3 14Admiral
I wasn't going to comment on this. I really wasn't. I have other things I need to do and I shouldn't let myself get caught up in another debate, but this chapter finally got to me.

Your contention is that the Death Penalty is not a deterrent to the commission of a murderous crime, that no one will be swayed from committing mass murder by witnessing the execution of a "compatriot" and might even be inspired to murder in the executed's name. I agree. Murder is an act of will, and anyone who intends to do it won't be swayed one way or another by watching someone else face the Death Penalty.

Here's my question: So What?

Just because the Death Penalty may not prevent murder doesn't make it an invalid punishment for those already convicted of the crime. The Bali and WTC terrorists (the ones that survived anyway) helped deprive lots of innocent people of their lives. It's the least they can do to accept the loss of their own lives as punishment. So they want to die? They think dying is glorious? That's fine. I see no reason to disappoint any of them, especially if we can help them meet their reward before they take more innocent lives. If the only option is to deprive them of their lives after the fact, then that's fine too, and the Death Penalty is one way to do it.
6/27/2003 c1 1serasivad
While I don't oppose the death penalty unconditionally I do believe it should be banned for the very reasons you listed. It was a very clear and informative paper.
6/24/2003 c1 27Loganberry
This happens to be one of the very few moral issues on which I'm an absolutist: like you, I think judicial killing is immoral under *any* circumstances, so the fact that innocent people get executed, while it exacerbates the problem, doesn't materially affect my view. Even if there were some infallible way to check that 100% of people executed were guilty, I still couldn't support it.

As to the US being the only retentionist Western nation, I think some might consider Japan to be "Western" in the usually accepted sense. Otherwise, I can't find anything here with which to quibble.

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