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[P]
Nothing wrong with closed-circuit broadcast of execution.

By Rasvar in Op-Ed
Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 07:20:31 PM EST
Tags: News (all tags)
News

The issue about whether the US Government should closed-circuit broadcast the execution of Timothy McVeigh back to victims families in viewing rooms in Terre Haute, IN [where the execution will happen] or to a viewing room in Oklahoma City, where most of the family of the victims live, has sparked some interesting and perplexing discussions in the media the last few days.


Comments like the following from an online article at Time.com seem to confuse the issue:
But while many agree with the request in theory, the situation still presents U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft with something of an ethical conundrum: Will the U.S. government sanction the broadcast (albeit private) of an execution?

Maybe I am missing something here. How can a closed-circuit televising to a private location an execution that the victims have a right to view be 'sanctioning the broadcast of an execution?' I guess in a pure 'technical' view, it is. However, if done right, this isn't even a pure broadcast. It can be done over private networks and never be 'broadcast' into the public airways. As it is, the 'broadcast' is really no more then an extension of the viewing room itself.

Aside from that, I have heard a number of comments about the families being 'sick' for wanting to see this. To me this is a "walk a mile in their shoes" situation before condemning them. I have a bit of perspective into how it is to lose a family member. I had a younger sister killed by a drunk driver. No, the gentleman did not deserve the death penalty for an accident. That does not mitigate my anger towards this person. I really do not know what would happen if I met this person on the street and recognized him. I'd like to think I could just turn around and leave. It would be difficult.

Understanding my own personal anger to losing a family member to an accident, I can only imagine how this rage is increased when there is a directed intentional act of terrorism aimed at innocent people. I can easily see how McVeigh embodies all there is to hate for these families. Plus, many of these families have grieved together and shared with the other victims families. For many, to view this event will give them some peace that justice has been done. Will they be able to let go? No. I can tell you for a fact that it can't be let go. There will always be a small piece of anger.

I know this does not fit all of the victims families. There are others who for reasons of their beliefs, emotional state and various other reasons, will have no wish to see the execution. However, to deny the families that wish to view the execution the right simply because there is no room in the viewing area is wrong. Closed-circuit broadcast is a no brainer. Under no circumstances should it be taped. All efforts must be made to keep the transmission secure and private. This country does not need public executions; but the victims have a right to see justice complete its course.

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Poll
How should broadcast of the execution be handled?
o Public - free for everyone 30%
o Public - Pay per view 12%
o Closed Circuit to Oklahoma and Indiana viewing room 12%
o Closed Circuit only to Indiana Viewing room 1%
o No broadcast at all 8%
o No execution 34%

Votes: 105
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o article
o Also by Rasvar


Display: Sort:
Nothing wrong with closed-circuit broadcast of execution. | 54 comments (52 topical, 2 editorial, 0 hidden)
Televised Execution (3.25 / 4) (#2)
by slick willie on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 11:33:26 AM EST

It seems to me, that with the way "Reality TV" is going, it's not going to be long before we're back to public executions, and have them on pay-per-view. Perhaps give the money to some sort of victims compensation fund.

I have to admit that this idea appeals to my baser nature. After all, what better way to prove the point that if you decide to take a life, your execution will be swift and certain? Instead of a condemned man getting a nice, quiet death deep in the bowels of a prison, have it on show for all to see.

After that, it will be a short leap to putting our condemned prisoners in arenas and having them fight animals, or each other. Vince McMahon would be licking his chops in anticipation of getting the rights to that. It would breathe new life into American Gladiator. Vince McMahon would have kittens.

We're getting there. One step at a time.

"...there is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit."
--Ronald Reagan, First Inaugural Address

It's time...to start...running! (3.33 / 3) (#5)
by Remy on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 11:47:41 AM EST

After that, it will be a short leap to putting our condemned prisoners in arenas and having them fight animals, or each other. Vince McMahon would be licking his chops in anticipation of getting the rights to that. It would breathe new life into American Gladiator. Vince McMahon would have kittens.

Sounds like you're pointing to The Running Man on almost all counts. Still one of my favorite movies - and it strikes me oddly that this one is the closest to happening in real life.

Are we going to have paid executioners - "stalkers" - who become public icons? Will prisoners really be given the chance to win their freedom, or will they truly end up like Wittman, Price, and Hadad? Will Jesse Ventura be involved? (Doesn't seem so unlikely any more...)

All I know is, if it means Richard Dawson makes a comeback, I'll be glued to my chair.


-- "The need to be observed and understood was once satisfied by God. Now we can implement the same functionality with data-mining algorithms." - Morpheus, Deus Ex
[ Parent ]
the problem with pay-per-view executions (3.00 / 1) (#7)
by cory on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 12:14:00 PM EST

The purpose, as I understand it, of public executions is deterrence. If only those who are willing to pay are allowed to see executions, only those with some kind of sick desire will do so. Given how many Americans go in for "When Jews Attack XXIV" and "America's Funniest Hit-and-run Accidents", I don't think our country would be well served by having pay-per-view executions.

Now, put them back in a town square type area, and replace modern methods like lethal injection and gas with tried and true methods such as hanging or the guillotine (sp?), and maybe that could accomplish something.

Cory

[ Parent ]
Re: the problem with pay-per-view executions (3.00 / 1) (#12)
by slick willie on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 12:52:26 PM EST

If only those who are willing to pay are allowed to see executions, only those with some kind of sick desire will do so
I think you underestimate the number of sick people in the US! :)

As it happens, though, I agree with you, to some extent. I'm not sure about a town square, but you could expand that analogy to show it on the network news, or right after "Friends" or some similar program. That way it is assured to reach a wider audience. After all, the purpose of a public execution is to make an example, and you want that example to be as far reaching as possible. Plus, I think that it should be as gruesome as possible, like the electric chair, or a gas chamber. That way you send the message, "If you commit a heinous crime against society, society will exact a horrible retribution from you."

I think (but am not certain) that in the 20's, one of the southern states used to haul the electric chair around to every town hall, and have it on display -- just to serve as a little reminder to behave yourself, or you will ride the lightning.

"...there is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit."
--Ronald Reagan, First Inaugural Address

[ Parent ]

the reason for town square (none / 0) (#14)
by cory on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 01:52:33 PM EST

Just watching an execution on TV isn't particularly shocking for most people. Watching someone choke to death twenty feet in front of you, on the other hand....

Cory

[ Parent ]
deterrence (4.00 / 1) (#32)
by dr k on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 07:27:19 PM EST

The purpose, as I understand it, of public executions is deterrence.

Hmm, we've had public executions for a few thousand years now, d'you think this deterrence thing is working yet?

Public executions don't deter you from committing crimes, they deter you from letting yourself get caught.

(Yes, and very little "correction" goes on in our correctional institutions as well.)


Destroy all trusted users!
[ Parent ]

Executions should be public (3.40 / 10) (#3)
by johnathan on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 11:39:07 AM EST

Executions are part of our justice system. What is the rationale for keeping them private? I understand that people are worried about lowlifes putting together shows in the vein of "America's Most Gruesome Executions." But the truth is that executions are gruesome... every time. Why should this be hidden from the American public, if the public accepts the fact that executions take place? Perhaps a good heuristic for whether a punishment is "cruel and unusual" is whether you can stand to watch it. If their broadcast causes an outcry... well, good. Maybe people will realize that state-sanctioned killing is a bad idea.

--
Her profession's her religion; her sin: her lifelessness.

public reactions (3.50 / 2) (#13)
by Delirium on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 01:16:02 PM EST

I think part of it comes from a desire to avoid the spectacles that executions used to be. Certainly even people who support the death penalty don't support return to the old method of public executions complete with cheering crowds.

Of course this stronger as an argument against allowing public viewing of the actual execution (as opposed to viewing it on television), since even if the death penalty is not cruel and unusual punishment, one might fairly convincingly argue that being put to death in front of a taunting, jeering audience is indeed cruel and unusual.

But even in the case of television, it appears to be an attempt to control some of the baser emotions, i.e. "what type of sick bastard would want to watch an execution anyway?" But I agree that this isn't really justified - we don't forbid broadcasting other sorts of things that provoke abhorrent responses from the viewers.

[ Parent ]

One reason cited by Ashcroft (4.00 / 1) (#16)
by Parity on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 03:03:35 PM EST

One reason to limit public access to the criminal or the execution, is to prevent people from committing abhorrent crimes in order to get the opportunity to broadcast a speech to the masses. Granted, it would take an fanatical extremist, but the point is, the number of fanatical extremists who would commit terrorism for the act itself is smaller than that number plus the number who would do it to get their last words broadcast. (I suppose we -could- take away the right to -have- last words, but since someone under death sentence has just about two rights (last meal, last words), that seems an awfully spiteful thing to do just in order to be able to show the person on TV). Anyway, it's very likely that executions will not be an acceptable form of punishment in another century; western governments are by and large moving that way, with the US being something of a holdout; though, DNA evidence and other improvements in the investigative process weaken the wrongful execution arguments, but anyway, time will tell. Parity None

[ Parent ]
THURSDAY, ON PAY-PER-VIEW!!! (2.66 / 3) (#4)
by nurglich on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 11:43:10 AM EST

"See the United States kick VcVeigh's a$$! They didn't want you to see it, but we're bringing it into your home! For only $9.95, see the beat-down that will redefine TV entertainment!"

Cut to to the Rock "SOMEONE'S GONNA DIE!!! AND THE ROCK'S GONNA BE THERE!!!"

Yeah, that would be a bit extreme. But if there's too many involved parties to watch from the observation room, its only fair to let them watch from elsewhere.

------------------------------------------
"There are no bad guys or innocent guys. There's just a bunch of guys!" --Ben Stiller, Zero Effect

Double Entendre? (4.50 / 2) (#9)
by MrAcheson on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 12:22:12 PM EST

I think this brings new meaning to "Can you smell what the Rock's got cooking?" :)


These opinions do not represent those of the US Army, DoD, or US Government.


[ Parent ]
better yet (none / 0) (#24)
by SEAL on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 04:43:08 PM EST

Dial up their special 900 number, and press a number on your phone to shock McVeigh. Pay-per-volt!

For all the taxpayer money that's wasted on death-row inmates, I think this would be a fitting way to make some money off them :)

- SEAL

It's only after we've lost everything that we're free to do anything.
[ Parent ]
ISDN, not 'broadcast' (4.80 / 5) (#6)
by Speare on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 11:52:44 AM EST

The closed-circuit method that will be used is an encrypted stream on an ISDN court television hookup. Bruce Schneier has consulted for this setup.

It's not being 'broadcast' on any wireless radio spectrum at all. Some phreaker may tie some clip leads to an ISDN switch somewhere and record the stream, but then they'll have to work hard on decrypting the stream. Maybe in a couple years, the SeeMcVeyKilled@HOME project will get results.

There was some brief consideration of the illegality of 'recording', because technically the system is 'recording' it temporarily for the purposes of being transmitted to another state, but this is not the same thing as 'broadcasting' or 'disseminating' the video.
 
[ e d @ h a l l e y . c c ]

It's important. (3.35 / 17) (#8)
by Electric Angst on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 12:16:36 PM EST

It's vitally important that McVeigh's execution be seen by the families of the victims. After all, if they don't see the execution happen, then they won't know when to go to the graveyard and get their relatives, who will magically return to life once the state murders this man.


--
"Hell, at least [Mailbox Pipebombing suspect Lucas Helder's] argument makes sense, which is more than I can say for the vast majority of people." - trhurler
But, it is important. (3.50 / 2) (#10)
by slick willie on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 12:36:00 PM EST

So that these people can close that chapter in their lives. Does one person, who wants the execution to proceed, outweigh the 260 folks who were summarily executed by McVeigh for no other reason than their choice of employer?

McVeigh has shown no remorse, no compassion, and nothing to indicate any sorrow for his actions. He has, IMO, given up his right to be a member of the human race. Rather than feed him and clothe him and make sure he has cable TV for the next 50 years, let's be done with it.

He wants it that way. The law states that it shall be done that way. Not only that, but we're assured that this person will never again commit a crime of this magnitude of malice and cruelty.

"...there is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit."
--Ronald Reagan, First Inaugural Address

[ Parent ]

Rolling eyes (3.00 / 1) (#11)
by Rasvar on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 12:37:06 PM EST

I always love this kind of comment. It is a matter of closure. I know that many of the ill feelings and memories have been increased by the tv interviews done and the book published the last month.

To some folks it just does not seem real unless they can have a visual. Seeing a coffin put in a hearst is not visual enough for them. It is simple human emotion.

[ Parent ]
not a big deal (3.33 / 3) (#15)
by Seumas on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 02:01:12 PM EST

It's not like it's being broadcast to an entire city or nation. If they could fit hundreds of victims into a little death chamber, there would be nothing wrong with it. Since that's a logistical problem, it only makes sense to have them in remote locations with an encrypted feed of the execution broadcast to those locations.

Seriously, it's not even an issue. I can't believe people are arguing over it.
--
I just read K5 for the articles.

I've heard a lot about closure (4.00 / 4) (#17)
by jd on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 03:10:44 PM EST

But have seen absolutely no proof from pro-DP people that such "closure" even exists.

Public executions, as was common in England during the Victorian era, or in France, during and after their "revolution", are now firmly established as the major CAUSE of crime in those times.

Sure, T.V. wants to be -on- TV. That was his entire point, from the word go. So, now, he gets to be. At the taxpayer's expense. Wow. I'm underwhelmed.

Yes, it's the system. And, as such, must be tolerated by those with an IQ over single digits. However, just because it -is- the system doesn't mean that it's "right", appropriate or even within a million miles of being even remotely sane.

We live in a democratic republic. As such, we have majority rule. That does NOT mean everyone else should shut up. Quite the opposite. In a democracy, EVERYONE has a voice. On the other hand, it DOES mean that everyone else -does- need to accept the decisions that -are- made, whether they like them or not.

IMHO, the DP is an expensive, socially destructive, emotionally crippling, unnecessary and unethical way of destroying all evidence of problems in society. But so what? It's what most people DO want, and have perpetuated through the ballot box. I don't have to like it - I don't - but short of building a rocket and finding a nice, habitable planet somewhere, I =do= have to accept it. Even if I do think you're all nuts.

Please explain (3.00 / 1) (#20)
by weirdling on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 04:02:10 PM EST

How, exactly, were public executions a *cause* of crime?
Of course, in much of Victorian era Europe, you could be executed for just about anything, so it wasn't much of a deterent, but a cause?

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
An explanation (none / 0) (#44)
by jd on Mon Apr 16, 2001 at 10:41:26 AM EST

Once a person had commited (even accidentally) a crime for which they could be executed, there was absolutely no benefit in surrenduring. Furthermore, there was absolutely no point in living quiet, peaceful lives, bothering nobody. Your sentance was inevitable, and good character or remorse wasn't going to save you.

In short, since you could only be killed once, once that became inevitable, the entire basis of law collapsed. What possible benefit was there in sparing potential witnesses? What conceivable use was there in feeling remorse?

In the French Revolution, things were worse. What you did was irrelevent. If you were the "wrong" sort of person, you got a close-up of the Guillotine. Innocence, guilt - these became irrelevencies, in a society who's national anthom to this day is about spilling the blood of it's enemies.

(For that matter, so is the British National Anthom. You should check out the verses they DON'T sing at international events!)

Also, take a look at the heros of these eras. Not many policemen get mentioned, do they? Criminals, sure! Fictional and factual criminals, fighting against the atrocities society considered fit to deliver - THOSE get the credits, today.

From the Scarlet Pimpernell (French Revolution) to Oliver Twist (Victorian England), from Tale of Two Cities (French Revolution) to Dick Turpin (18th Century England) -- THESE are the names and tales people remember today, and often with respect for their resistance to cruel regimes.

Imagine that, tomorrow, time travel was invented, and some of the greatest heros - fiction or fact - were brought forward to today. How would they fare?

Robin Hood: Would probably die in a shoot-out with police, after he re-allocated food in America. (Let's face it - thousands die of malnutritian, and thousands more die of obesity-related diseases. You think Robin Hood would stand back?)

King Arthur: Honor doesn't go down well in politics, today. (Ask former President Carter.) He would likely be the victim of hate campaigns. Not known for giving in, someone like this would probably fight back. I'd give him a life expectancy of a week.

George Washington: Isolated by hate campaigns and torn apart by media hounds, his stance that he could not tell a lie would finish him. If he was lucky, he'd end up a homeless alchoholic with no chance of recovery.

Charles Dickens: Oprah Winfrey had the money to fight the Texan Cattle farmer's lawsuits, which aimed to silence her critisism of potentially hazardous practices. Charles Dickens would be many times more vocal, but I doubt he'd have the hard cash to defend himself. If he tried, he'd end up in debtor's prison from lawyer's fees. (A carry-over from the Victorian workhouses he so despised.) If he didn't, the fines and penalties would put him there anyway.

Christopher Columbus: He'd end up in jail for fraudulant logs and endangering his crew, from his epic voyage to discover America.

The heros we remember and adore despised and held with the utmost contempt many practices that exist today, including the Death Penalty. If we truly wish to respect these mighty figures from the past, we must start by accepting that their heroism was BECAUSE of their views, not in spite of them.

We must also remember the lessons of the past. They are so easy to forget, and have proved painful to re-learn.

[ Parent ]

I agree, to a point (none / 0) (#47)
by weirdling on Mon Apr 16, 2001 at 01:20:58 PM EST

Mostly what you've said is excess; in medieval England, you could be executed for hunting for food to feed your starving family. However, execution for capital crimes such as murder in the first is a situation where you're already dealing with a desparate criminal, and as such, doesn't much change the crime statistics except to ensure that there will be no repeat in that particular case.
I'd also disagree a bit with your Robin Hood analogy, as the current problems with nutrition in the US are largely by choice, particularly obesity, not results of an oppressive government.
Also, after hearing exactly what it was Oprah said, I was of the opinion the Texas cattle farmers should have won that suit; however, as it was, Oprah agreed to not say such things again as part of the settlement. What she did say was not true and was injurious to Texas cattle, so was technically libel.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Closure (3.00 / 1) (#22)
by slick willie on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 04:05:58 PM EST

But have seen absolutely no proof from pro-DP people that such "closure" even exists.
Largely because it is a psychological phenomenon, and therefore, unquantifiable. It doesn't mean that it doesn't exist. I can only hope that nothing happens in your life which leads you to seek closure.
Public executions [...] are now firmly established as the major CAUSE of crime in those times.
Because some historian says so? You're going to have to at least show me a link to something to even begin to try to convince me of any semblance of truth in that assertion.
[...]must be tolerated by those with an IQ over single digits
Oh, yes. Only a simpleton or a dolt would endorse a barbaric and horrific thing, such as the death penalty. Please, spare me your elitist garbage. If you're against the death penalty, that's fine. It's a very polarized issue, but don't suggest that anyone who is for it is an idiot.

The death penalty has been the only "rehabilitation" with a recidivism rate of zero. That's a fact that no one can dispute. You can talk about human rights all you want, but, to me, if you choose to act outside of what other human beings have deemed acceptable, you give up that right. Not only that, but since you made the choice to do so, it doesn't mean that I am obligated to let you live relatively comfortably for the rest of your life.

DP is an expensive, socially destructive, emotionally crippling, unnecessary and unethical way of destroying all evidence of problems in society
Hmmm...I thought it was about punishment for a crime. But then again, my IQ is <10, so there ya have it.

"...there is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit."
--Ronald Reagan, First Inaugural Address

[ Parent ]
Various (none / 0) (#46)
by jd on Mon Apr 16, 2001 at 11:56:31 AM EST

First, psychology -is- quantifiable, in relative terms. Are there more people obsessed with the death, without seeing the execution? Less? The same? These are measurable quantities. If they haven't been measured, or not measured in any statistically meaningful way, then I want to know why. If the pro-DP people make a claim, their claim should be as subject to scrutiny as any other. Claiming exemption doesn't cut the mustard.

Nothing in my life could =EVER= make me seek closure. Closure is denial, and denial is the greatest threat to human life and liberty that has ever existed.

As for a link, you show me how to set up a URL to a dead tree, and I'll show you a link. Until then, read Charles Dickens' "Oliver Twist", and remember that it is not a work of fiction, in the normal sense. That WAS the reality that he lived in. It's as much fiction as a modern political satire, or a case study where the names are changed.

I'm not suggesting that the Death Penalty is only supported by bloodthirsty, sociopathic, barbarians who have no sense of ethics, morality or humanity. I'm stating it. The Death Penalty =is= a polarized issue, sure, but as far as I'm concerned, that's about as relevent to this discussion as the price of cheese.

If the Death Penalty achieves nothing, deters nobody, actually =incites= crime, and costs a great deal on top of all that, then you're paying your hard-earned money in order to increase the danger you live in.

In my books, that is stupid. If you don't think so, fine. Hey, you could pay =me= to make your life miserable, if you really want. I'm not going to object.

The DP is not rehabilitation. It's expensive manure manufacturing. The number of re-offenders is actually worse, per unit cost, than other types of punishment. (Again, go back to Victorian England for a moment. It was a common practice for highwaymen to have an assistant who could cut them down from the gallows before they were dead. Re-offences after the DP were actually substantial, all things considered.)

As for the American DP, you're going to tell me that nobody has ever pulled a stunt like that. That nobody has ever beat the system. Yeah, right. As if you've even checked. You do some REAL research, and come back with a REAL counter, when you have REAL data to back it.

The DP is not a punishment. Who does it punish? The criminal? He/She is DEAD at this point? So what do they care???

The DP is intended to deter. Pure and simple. So is all punishment. If it didn't deter, in some form or other, it would achieve nothing. All you'd be doing is adding more abuse to the abuse. If you add shit to a pile of shit, all you get is a bigger stink.

As far as I'm concerned, pro-DP people =ARE= simpletons. Why? Because if they were willing to consider alternatives, AND had any desire to do so, they'd be out looking for them. They WOULDN'T be hanging around one particular system which can, at best, produce oddly-scented roses.

The same is true of ANYONE who is fixed on one alternative. I don't know for sure whether God exists or not. But, if he does, I'm not him, and neither is anyone else on planet Earth.

For a person to assume they have =THE= answer for something is for them to assume they know everything, and are all-wise & all-knowing.

In my book, anyone who claims to fit that kind of bill IS a simpleton. The only way to honestly believe that is to know nothing and never allow yourself to increase that knowledge.

To be certain that the DP is "right" and "justified", and the best thing sinced sliced liver, is to be convinced that you know every possible way a person could be punished, treated or handled. That is a bold claim.

My anti-DP stance is rational only in that I know for certain that I don't know everything, and therefore there most (logically) be something I don't know which would be superior to the DP.

In that case, anyone with any honor and intelligence is honor-bound to consider what such a method must be. To do otherwise is to say that killing is an acceptable way to avoid homework.

Your teachers/former teachers (depending on age) must be glad you didn't think so in their class.

[ Parent ]

Now I See the Light! (none / 0) (#48)
by slick willie on Mon Apr 16, 2001 at 10:56:35 PM EST

Thank you for your views. I am now enlightened. I can now see the causality link between the death penalty and increased crime, because you have asserted it to be true, and backed it up with a compelling argument.

I'm not suggesting that the Death Penalty is only supported by bloodthirsty, sociopathic, barbarians who have no sense of ethics, morality or humanity. I'm stating it.
If that's the case, I'm proud to stand up and be counted with the rest of the Mongol Horde. Why aren't you questioning the humanity of a person who willfully chooses to brutally and arbitrarily end the life of another person (or another 260 people)? Ethics? Did Timothy McVeigh stop to consider the ethics of him viewing the children in the Murrah Building as nothing more than collateral damage? Not only that, but I think he's getting off light. They should put him in a condemned building and blow it up with ANFO. I'll even rent the Ryder truck.

Is it a deterrent? Certainly, data suggest it. As the number of executions has gone up, the murder rate has gone down. You can compare the homicide rate, as compared to the number of executions nationwide. As to the expense of it, there are studies that conclude it is 3 times as expensive to house an inmate for life. I am certain that you can cite studies that prove just the opposite. There's one fact that can't be disputed -- a recidivism rate of zero.

Am I certain that it works? Sure I am. Is there a better way? There could very well be, but we're taking a long time finding it. How many innocent lives are you willing to sacrifice in your pursuit of the correct solution?

I take it then that your way (the correct way, I mean) is to assume that we know nothing and give these animals the benefit of the doubt? Not hardly. I'm not going to risk my, or my family's collective neck over it.

Why is it with all this talk about human rights, I never hear you guys talk about the victims, and their families?

Your teachers/former teachers (depending on age) must be glad you didn't think so in their class.
Actually, I killed all my teachers when I was done with school. They no longer served a purpose for me.

Surely you can do better than that...

"...there is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit."
--Ronald Reagan, First Inaugural Address

[ Parent ]

Sacrifice innocent lives (none / 0) (#53)
by nobody on Wed Apr 18, 2001 at 01:13:10 PM EST

How many innocent lives are you willing to sacrifice in your pursuit of the correct solution?

How many innocent lives are you willing to sacrifice because of NOT pursuing the correct solution?
Really, you should take a look at some anti-DP sites out there. They will show you some things pro-DP sites will never show you, like how many innocent people are murdered by the state per guilty criminal. And I prefer to let ALL murderers this planet has go away untouched by justice to let ONE innocent die. Death is very permanent, remember?




In capitalism, man exploits man. In socialism, it's exactly the opposite.
[ Parent ]
Really? (none / 0) (#54)
by slick willie on Wed Apr 18, 2001 at 11:00:57 PM EST

Funny you should mention that, I have looked at some of the Anti-DP sites, as well as some of the pro-DP sites. So what? Now I can see both sides of the issue, and guess what, I still come down on the side of death.
And I prefer to let ALL murderers this planet has go away untouched by justice to let ONE innocent die.
Outstanding! Next time something happens, like, say Willie Horton goes on his next furlough, are you going to offer yourself up for slaughter? If so, let me know, so that we can spare someone who doesn't want to die at the hands of one of these subhumans.

Here's a real-world example for you: There's this guy. Let's call him, say, Nathaniel Bar-Jonah. This guy, it seems, has a 20-plus year history of violence against children. So after spending a little time (less than a year) in prison, the state of Massachusetts says collectively, "Well, ol' Nate here has repaid his debt. What say we let him loose." So, they did. With his newfound freedom, Mr. Bar-Jonah went west, where he summarily killed and ate a 10 year old boy by the name of Zachary Ramsay. Not satisfied with that, he also fed stew made from the remains of that young boy to his neighbors.

Now then, allow me to come to the daring conclusion that if the state of Massachusetts had done the right thing, and served up Mr. Bar-Jonah extra crispy, Mrs. Ramsay would still have her son.

Who's the innocent life here?

Name one innocent person who has been executed in the past 100 years.

I'm sure that we can point each other to hundreds of flawed studies and dubious "facts." I suppose that you would believe that the FBI and the USDOJ make up their facts as they go, but this is fairly interesting.

Death is very permanent, remember?
Indeed I do. Ask anyone who has been murdered by Ted Bundy, Timothy McVeigh, Jeffrey Dahmer, et al. Better yet, talk to someone like Mrs. Ramsay, and explain to her why the death penalty is so wrong. Death is, indeed, permanent.

"...there is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit."
--Ronald Reagan, First Inaugural Address

[ Parent ]
firmly established? (4.50 / 2) (#27)
by Puchitao on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 06:36:15 PM EST

... are now firmly established as the major CAUSE of crime in those times.
You know, there's a reason k5 allows <A HREF> tags in comments... I, too, would like to see any source for this.

Perhaps we can do *snappy fun* with you everytime! -- Orz
[ Parent ]
You know, there's one catch with A HREF... (none / 0) (#45)
by jd on Mon Apr 16, 2001 at 11:25:10 AM EST

It's not too good on paper books, yet. :)

However, I'll tell you what I'll do. I'll sketch out an outline here of what is argued by most British historians, and was largely argued in Britain at the time, leading to major legal reform, the abolition of the Death Penalty for many crimes (and later for all crimes except High Treason and Piracy on the High Seas)...

The Death Penalty essentially abolished law and order, in those times. Since any =common= crime carried the penalty, and since crime was very, ummm, flexibly defined, virtually anyone who was poor was going to end up on the gallows or in a workhouse. Alternatives really didn't exist.

Result: If you were guaranteed to either be among the dead or the living dead, there really wasn't a strong reason to play nice.

How this relates to my post is simple. Once a person is trapped between unacceptable evils (through their own doing or for any other reason), or even just believes that they are trapped this way, what reason -do- they have to live civilised lives?

T McV and D K are classic examples of this kind of mindset. In both cases, it was through their own doing, sure, but that's not the point. The point is, once each had crossed some line, there was no reason to ever go back. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. Anyone in that kind of space has one of two options. Go insane quietly, or go insane violently. The latter was common in Victorian England, and seems to be increasingly common across the globe, right now, but especially in those countries with the DP. After all, it can't get any worse after that.

And that's just the point that reform groups have always been trying to press upon pro-DP countries. If a person's going to die, after one crime, what's going to deter them from commiting another? Going to slap them on the wrist?

[ Parent ]

Oops, one more thought... (4.75 / 4) (#18)
by jd on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 03:21:19 PM EST

Nothing in society happens or changes instantaneously. It takes time. But once the momentum builds, it's next to impossible to stop.

(In fact, that was the premise on which Isaac Asimov built his entire Foundation series.)

If we accept this premise, then we must accept the conclusion: Once we start on ANY path, then stopping or changing direction is going to require immense effort.

Now, apply that in this case. If we move from being present to being on CCTV, we are distancing the viewers from the event. They won't be as emotionally atached.

If it becomes accepted, and the norm - which it will - then the audience will expand, always staying on the edge of what's acceptable at that time.

Once real deaths become the norm on TV, they will move (gradually) from being "documentarys" to being entertainment. And, from there, it can't be long before American TV makes the old-style Roman "circuses" and gladitorial arenas positively pacifist.

Stop looking at this event in isolation, and START looking at the direction it moves America in. That is what counts, in the long run.

i have to agree... (4.20 / 5) (#19)
by taruntius on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 03:31:29 PM EST

Much as I may disagree with many things in Atty. General Ashcroft's mind or that come out of his mouth, on this one I can't find any fault. There is ample precedent for people wronged by a criminal to witness the criminal's execution. In this particular case, the number of people involved simply makes it impractical for all of them to be physically present in the viewing room, so duh, the only option is to narrowcast the event to one or more other viewing locations for those people.




--Believing I had supernatural powers I slammed into a brick wall.
Revenge (3.75 / 4) (#23)
by Error404 on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 04:24:07 PM EST

Revenge doesn't help people heal, it just builds more anger inside them.

I'm gonna get flamed but...... (4.00 / 2) (#25)
by unstable on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 05:34:31 PM EST

I feel that he does deserve to die....
Not to provide "closure", Not to "bring back the dead", Not to hide the problems of society. but simply to get rid of him.

Now that may seem harsh, but this is a being (i won't even call him human) that holds NO remorse for what he did. He knew there was a day care center in there, he know the pain he was going to cause, but his only regret... that he didnt bring the whole building down.

Someone like that has a negative value on society. He is not going to reform, and he can be of no use to anyone. Some people say "put him in solitary confinement" is that any more "humane" than death? others say keep him locked up for life, do you want to pay for this?.. I dont want any of my money going to give him food, put clothes on his back, or put a roof over his head. But I will be the first to throw $5 in to get rid of him so that we, the human race, can move on.

Am I a asshole for saying that... maybe, but thats what I belive,

As for broadcasting the execution, I feel that the families should be allowed to watch if they want. maybe it will help them move on... maybe not.. but its thier choice.





Reverend Unstable
all praise the almighty Bob
and be filled with slack

Who cares? (2.50 / 2) (#30)
by delmoi on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 07:06:04 PM EST

I mean, as long as he can't cause any more harm, then what diffrence does it make to kill him. How would the world be a better place with him dead then with him locked up?

"put him in solitary confinement" is that any more "humane" than death?

I really don't even see how death is that bad, I mean it dosn't even hurt the way they do it, life in the whole would suck anyway.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
McVeigh is deluded, not a monster or a terrorist (5.00 / 1) (#36)
by khym on Sat Apr 14, 2001 at 03:56:01 AM EST

In a war, there is always going to be "collateral damage", the accidental killing of innocent non-combatants; this is unfortunate, but unavoidable. In McVeigh's mind, the citizens and children killed by the bomb were "collateral damage": he was fighting a war, and he simply couldn't avoid killing those people. Their deaths were unfortunate, but he hoped that his actions would save more lives in the long run, and help prevent everyone in the U.S. from being enslaved. This is far different from, say, a remorseless serial killer who enjoyed killing people.

I'd also say that he isn't a terrorist. In my book, a terrorist is someone who uses violence in the hopes that people will give into their demands. McVeigh wasn't trying to kill people, but to destroy the building.



--
Give a man a match, and he'll be warm for a minute, but set him on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.
[ Parent ]
What a fucked up view we have of life. (2.28 / 7) (#26)
by kwsNI on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 06:30:19 PM EST

I have no doubt that most people here would pay to watch Bill Gates executed for crimes against humanity but we can't seem to justify the execution of a heartless madman whose only regret was that he didn't succeed in killing more.

kwsNI
I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they'd never expect it. -Jack Handy
Whew, talk about fucked up...! (3.50 / 2) (#29)
by zhobson on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 06:53:28 PM EST

"most people here would pay to watch Bill Gates executed for crimes against humanity"

Um, speak for yourself. I'm an avid free software user, Microsoft-free since 1998. I don't think anyone, except of course you, wants to see Bill Gates, unscrupulous though he may be, executed. I certainly would not pay for the privelege.

Try not to push your billionaire murder fantasies onto the rest of us, alright? Bill Gates is digging his own grave. Your energy is better spent elsewhere.

What a world,

-zack

PS: How about Eric Raymond instead? That guy bugs the hell out of me. ^_^



[ Parent ]

You totally missed my point. (5.00 / 1) (#31)
by kwsNI on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 07:08:33 PM EST

How about Eric Raymond instead? That guy bugs the hell out of me.

First of all, you missed the heavy sarcasm in the comment. More importantly though, you missed the point. The point is, the people here hate people like ESR, Gates, Bezos, etc. more than they hate people like McVeigh.

Maybe I should have pointed it out without sarcasm because so many people here on K5 don't have a sense of humor, but I think my original point still stands.

kwsNI
I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they'd never expect it. -Jack Handy
[ Parent ]

US WILL have live execution broadcasts (3.66 / 6) (#28)
by cezarg on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 06:49:32 PM EST

I am in no doubt whatsoever that the US media will have live execution broadcasts in a very near future. Having recently moved from the UK to Canada (where most tv channels originate from US) I see your television as sick, low in quality and demorializing.

Before you select a '1' in that dropdown box listen to me for a minute. The US television makes money on sensationalism and shock factor. Most tv station rush to be the first ones to televise live broadcasts of crimes being comitted as they happen, car chases are filmed every day and "juicy" shots such as those from the columbine massacre are shown over and over. This is SICK people! Can't you see it? You're on a slippery slope. It will only take a short time before your media barons convince you that it's quite OK to film all kinds of gruesome stuff. You're just a step away from having live broadcasts of executions. You already have live broadcasts of murders and other atrocities!

I remember when I saw "Natural Born Killers" in the UK. I was grossed out. Now I'm even more grossed out because I realise that American TV is EXACTLY like Stone portraid it in his movie. All of a sudden the movie started making a lot more sense to me...

American TV is for sickos. If you people can't see it it's because you've got so used to it.

STAY TUNED... (3.00 / 1) (#34)
by eudas on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 09:21:23 PM EST

You're watching FOX!

eudas
"We're placing this wood in your ass for the good of the world" -- mrgoat
[ Parent ]
I may be in the minority but (4.00 / 1) (#33)
by Ian A on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 07:47:00 PM EST

I feel that a public execution would be disgusting. It is blatantly cruel and unusual punishment, and should not be allowed to occur simply because of that fact. Is America to that point of desensitization that watching a real life human being die is encouraged? Add to that the fact that watching the death will not bring 'closure' to the families but simply leave them empty, and it sounds like a horrible idea. It has been stated by people who have had crimes committed against them that such crimes back at the criminal does not bring closure; forgiveness does. It is sad to see that so many people are actually in favor of this.

America so desensitized? (4.50 / 2) (#35)
by ttfkam on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 10:41:30 PM EST

Private executioni is a relatively recent phenomena. Back before the electric chair and lethal injection (not that long ago if you really think about it), hangings were very often done in public view.

If I'm made in God's image then God needs to lay off the corn chips and onion dip. Get some exercise, God! - Tatarigami
[ Parent ]
Disgusting? (none / 0) (#52)
by nobody on Wed Apr 18, 2001 at 12:52:51 PM EST

You are missing the point that the mere act of killing someone is disgusting, be it murder or execution. (Not that there is a difference betweeen the two, in my opinion.)


In capitalism, man exploits man. In socialism, it's exactly the opposite.
[ Parent ]
This isn't going to be broadcast (4.00 / 1) (#37)
by 0xA on Sat Apr 14, 2001 at 06:30:25 AM EST

I don't see how you can tie the viewing of this guy's execution to the media. They're talking about showing it to the families of his victims in a different city because it would be a difficult logistical problem to cram them all into the death chamber. Sounds like a good solution to the problem to me. It will not be publically available, this is not a media issue.

Of couse having said that, I can not understand why anyone would want to watch this. This is disgusting. He is a bad man, he did a bad thing making him a dead bad man won't change anything. The capacity people have for revenge and hatred amazes me.

I feel sorry for Tim McVey, I wish we could understand what motivates people to do horrible things like this so we can help them. Seems to me like it makes more sense to try and learn from him than to act like him by tkaing another life.

Motivation (4.00 / 1) (#42)
by Bad Harmony on Sun Apr 15, 2001 at 04:24:54 AM EST

I feel sorry for Tim McVey, I wish we could understand what motivates people to do horrible things like this so we can help them.

Talk to Janet Reno.

The federal government is partly responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing. After Ruby Ridge, Waco and other incidents of state sponsored terrorism and murder, there were a lot of very pissed off people in this country. McVeigh is just someone on the extreme fringe of that group. I don't condone it but I can understand it.

5440' or Fight!
[ Parent ]

Victims' families shouldn't see it, even in person (5.00 / 4) (#38)
by peeping_Thomist on Sat Apr 14, 2001 at 10:43:28 AM EST

Laws which give victims' families special rights are not a good thing: they represent a descent back into barbarity.

One of the great advances we made about 1500 years ago is that we don't any longer give blood feuds any legal standing. Today, murder is conceived of as a crime against a political community which can takes steps to protect itself, but not as a crime against a family that can demand vengeance.

Families of victims have no special claim to view an execution, since the state is not acting in the name of the family in executing the murderer. The fact that in the past 20 years we have forgotten this does not bode well for the future.

This issue is completely separate from the question of whether capital punishment is a good idea. It cuts to the core of what we think justice is.

Murder is still murder, even by state sanction (none / 0) (#50)
by deefer on Tue Apr 17, 2001 at 12:06:42 PM EST

Today, murder is conceived of as a crime against a political community which can takes steps to protect itself, but not as a crime against a family that can demand vengeance.

OK, I'll go with that. So by that token, everybody who is in the "political community" must be allowed to watch it, because the crime was against "the community", not the family. In fact, I think that more public executions are in order (note the emphasis, nit pickers - if I'd meant "more executions" by that I'd have run for your presidency last year). It all sounds so good, doesn't it - "an eye for an eye" and all that. It's the greatest deterrent there is, the death penalty, right? Maybe so, but look at the crime figures... I think that if you agree with the death penalty then you must be willing to go and physically watch the state sanctioned murder. If not, then you are not participating in your judicial process fully, and you're not being true to your beliefs. If you believe in the death penalty, and are of voting age, you should be required to watch at least one per year. When "justice" is dispensed on your behalf in almost secret conditions, it is easy to believe in state sanctioned murder. These criminals are guilty of murder, hey? Fry 'em!!! Sure, if you believe that will make it right. But get right up close and smell the singing hair or the fecal stench as sphincter muscles relax, and I'll bet that your opinions will change. If you want the death penalty, then you must be prepared for the cost of that - and the cost is for you to actually see what your decision entails, as well as knowing that you may well put an innocent person to death. I disagree with the death penalty, but I'm not going to argue that here. I'm just saying, if you want a death penalty, then you must have to watch an execution.

Families of victims have no special claim to view an execution,

I agree. Everybody that voted for the local judicary and laws should be made to see a state sanctioned murder, at some point. Otherwise, you're voting for something the consequences of which have *real longterm* implications, without bothering to understand the mechanics of it. It is not nice, and I think confronting people with the truth may yet bring parts of the American legal system into line with current international thinking. Go check up at Amnesty International sometime... Then talk to me about "descent back into barbarity"...


Kill the baddies.
Get the girl.
And save the entire planet.

[ Parent ]
Can someone tell me... (4.66 / 3) (#39)
by cr0sh on Sat Apr 14, 2001 at 02:11:07 PM EST

Was TM rallying against an out-of-control beaurocracy (the US government, in this case)?

I ask this because so many people have told me, and I have heard - that he was an insane individual, a monster that should be put to death.

I don't think he is a monster, nor insane. If he was either of these, he would have chose something more personal, or at least more debilitating, and would have stuck around to watch. Look up how serial killers and mass murderers work (plenty of info out there), and you will easily see that TM is neither.

What he did was heinous - he did kill a lot of innocent people. But how innocent are these people? The children - yeah, they are innocent. But the adults?

You work for a system that is corrupt (and don't tell me nobody suspected anything of Bubba at that time) - be it a government or a corporation, or a family. Yet you stay, because "I have to eat" - it is a hard decision. Perhaps they were all innocent...

Why is it that it seems like bureacracy creates malevolent entities - in other words, get a bunch of nice people all working together, in a govt or a corp - and it seems like in the end, the resulting large organism is corrupt, and does deceitful, even harmful, things - even against the very people who work for it! Yet these same people who form this corrupt entity, stay - as if they have no free will, or refuse to see what is happening to their neighbors - or themselves!

Was this what TM was crying out against (in the biggest way he could imagine) - yet then, as now, the mass public refuses to see the problem? When will MPAA or RIAA member sites be blown up? When will Mr. Bill get something more than a pie thrown his way?

It is only a matter of time - it will happen. I say sooner than we think. TM simply fired the opening salvo.

I am not saying he shouldn't be removed from society (and I don't know for certain whether the DP is worthwhile or not, so I won't go into that argument). However, we can't simply say he was an insane madman - he, like the Unabomber, has a message - and I fear if we refuse to hear it, and think about its meaning, it will mean a quick trip down the road to our society's ultimate collapse.

My long and rantish view ;) (4.33 / 3) (#40)
by a life in hell on Sat Apr 14, 2001 at 09:56:23 PM EST

In a way, I'm perfectly fine with this. It places the death penalty much more clearly in the "Premeditated Murder" category, where I have believed for a long time that it belonged anyhow.

You know, I've found it a great irony that George Bush can be a christian man, but yet support the death penalty. Yes, I am aware of the verse "An eye for an eye". However, I am also aware of the New Testament clarification, which so-called christian people are supposed to believe superceeds the Old Testament, which says "An eye for an eye, but instead turn the other cheek".

Allowing the victims to view this execution turns it very clearly into a killing of vengeance, if it wasn't one before (I believe that it was, but I could at least see the argument of the people whom stated that it was just a way to remove them from society/avoiding the cost of incarceration before).

I find it very interesting that I've seen many people, some of whom my friends, who truly believe in every word in the bible (Sometimes referred to as the christian right, I guess), preaching much more volumous use of the death penalty. The most important parts of the bible, as many priests have told me, is the Gospels, and the Ten Commandments.

One of those commandments is "Thou shall not kill". Not "Thou shall not kill reputable citizens". Not "Thou shall not kill except if the person has committed a crime that I consider horrible." No but. No except. No qualifier.

Thou shall not kill. Ever. No Exceptions.

I do not believe in God, however. As you can probably tell by this rant, I had a christian upbringing, and rejected it, but ended up with many of the morals regardless.

Another common perspective on this is the rule of law, that is, some people advocating more executions believe that it is a good way to ensure that the offenders never repeat their offenses, and that it will discourage others from doing the same. These people believe strongly that the law is king, and claim they would defend it with their lives.

I'm not so sure that they all believe in this, but they at least claim to. Something inside me says that some of these (say 50%) might be people who are just too high strung to admit that they want vengeance.

The Law defines premeditated murder as (basically... this is simplified a little, of course) the act of planning to kill someone, and then following through on that plan and actually doing so.

If you look at the raw facts, and ignore the fact that the state is the one doing the killing, executions fit this definition. Right now, we are planning to kill this man. We are planning to do so very meticulously. And then, we will do so. And we will be proud of it. Many of us will not show any remorse, the least of which those who do the actual physical killing.

Any private citizen who engaged in that would end up destined for the chair. I find that to be very ironic.

There are other types of killing. Manslaughter is unintentional. This is clearly not so. He is being lead to the chair, not accidently running into it.

Self defense. Some would argue this, since if allowed outside, he may kill again. The law, however, has a very narrow definition of self defense, and very delibratly so. He would have to present an *immediate* danger to the person doing the killing, and he clearly cannot from his current situation on death row.

Killing out of passion. (Sorry, I forget the technical term for this). Nope... now, if one of the victims families had shown up the next day, and killed him in a rage, then this could apply. But this has been meticulously planned... any legally allowable passion defense is now out of the question.

The next common for reasoning given for the death penalty is vengeance. Cry out as much as you like, but this is the reason why we are here... the families want to see the offender die, and the government is providing.

State sanctioned vigilantism.

I cannot see the arguments for a state execution as vengeance. If someone could enlighten me to these, I would appreciate it. As far as I can tell, it is based on raw emotions. The reason we have a judicial system, is specifically to make sure that punishments are decided rationally, instead of based on emotion. Otherwise we might as well just abolish the courts, and all carry around guns, just randomly killing people we don't like.

Is anyone still reading this far? I think my position on this issue is pretty clear at this point, so I'll stop ranting at you all :)

(And K5 rejoices :)

        - From Jaymz with Love

The Ten Commandments (4.00 / 1) (#41)
by Bad Harmony on Sun Apr 15, 2001 at 04:03:45 AM EST

One of those commandments is "Thou shall not kill". Not "Thou shall not kill reputable citizens". Not "Thou shall not kill except if the person has committed a crime that I consider horrible." No but. No except. No qualifier. Thou shall not kill. Ever. No Exceptions.

Your argument is based on a mistranslation of the original Hebrew text. A better translation would be "You shall not murder" or "You shall not shed innocent blood".

5440' or Fight!
[ Parent ]

The Ten Commandments (none / 0) (#43)
by rossz on Sun Apr 15, 2001 at 10:55:25 PM EST

You beat me to correcting the person on that particular commandment. I should point out (to the person you are responding to) that the Torah does give guidance to when lethal force is justified, e.g. to protect an innocent life from murder. The Jewish religion, despite common misconceptions, does not prohibit one from protecting yourself. Quite the opposite, in fact. It is considered a sin to NOT use lethal force if necessary to protect the innocent (yourself included).

[ Parent ]
Then Jesus was wrong. (none / 0) (#49)
by Tezcatlipoca on Tue Apr 17, 2001 at 05:15:52 AM EST

Because he clearly advocated no retaliation ( offer the other cheek after being slapped) and predicated this by example.

Many so called "christians" will go to any lenghts to deny the obvious: that their sacred book has bunches of contradictions, and usualy every group will only follow the bits and pieces they like and that suits their previous conceptions and beliefs and no the ones that challenge them (we even had "christians" that found justification in the Bible, or should I say their Bible, for apartheid in Southafrica).

The Catholic church does support the first interpretation (no ifs, no buts: "you shall not kill", no exceptions). Now if they got the translation wrong, well, there is no hope.

Which other Bible (how ironic to talk about different Bibles...) "got the translation wrong"?



Might is right
Freedom? Which freedom?
[ Parent ]

Bible Translations (none / 0) (#51)
by Bad Harmony on Tue Apr 17, 2001 at 09:38:56 PM EST

I'm not a Christian, so I can't make an informed comment on Christian theology. I will note that Christian interpretations of the Tanach (Jewish Bible) are often very different from the Jewish interpretations. The Christian interpretations have to harmonize the New Testament with the Old Testament, with the New Testament taking precedence. In traditional Judaism, there is also the oral tradition, considered to be an integral part of the Torah, which was recorded in the Mishnah and the Gemara (Talmud). There are also many classic written commentaries on the Torah.

So, what is the correct translation? The Hebrew text is two words, "lo tirtzach". There is the plain meaning of the words (you shall not murder/slay/kill) and the context in which they are interpreted. The problem is that words in one language are often impossible to translate into another language without losing some of the original meaning.

5440' or Fight!
[ Parent ]

Nothing wrong with closed-circuit broadcast of execution. | 54 comments (52 topical, 2 editorial, 0 hidden)
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