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[P]
Resocialize or take revenge on criminals?

By psychologist in Op-Ed
Sat Jan 31, 2004 at 03:33:10 AM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)
Freedom

We are brought up a certain way, and we often do not think about some things that are a certain way, and have always been that way. For example, a criminal should be put in prison. That is an automatic association in our minds, and is usually not questioned.

But there are three good reasons why criminals are put into prison:

  1. To act as a deterrent to other criminals, who would not want to lose their freedom

  2. To remove the criminal away from society, since he may still be a danger

  3. To resocialize and retrain the criminal to function as a normal member of society.


There is one thing that prison is NOT, and should never be. It is not a way to get revenge on a particular person for perceived hurts.


Let us look at the case of Saddam Hussein, for example; a lot of people are calling for his death. They are calling for revenge, and they are expecting a modern and civilised country to act on such a basic primitive instinct. That should not happen.

Rather, the case should be looked at logically, following the three points I list above. Killing Saddam in cold blood will not act as a deterrent to many people, because frankly, there are not many people who are in the same situation he is in. Killing a former president will not change world politics in any way.

However, Saddam poses a sort of danger to society, since he still has a lot of money, and money commands support. So it would be proper to place him in a jail.

But the implication of jailing someone because he is a danger to society means that when he is no longer a danger, that is, when he has been completely resocialised, then he deserves to be released. Everybody in prison has that right. Or should have that right.

That brings me to the death penalty as a whole. The death penalty in America is implemented as a form of revenge. You might think right now that it would act as a deterrent to other would-be criminals, but the very act of constructing a death penalty in America involves the manipulation of people to make them want revenge on a person.

Plainly speaking, lawyers make the juries pity the victim, and make them hate the accused, and want him to be executed. They create an atmosphere of legal revenge.

Nobody ever thinks of the accused as a person simply affected by unfortunate circumstances. In each and every court case, the emphasis should be on the following:


  1. Why did this incident happen, and what led up to it?

  2. How best do we prevent a repetition from happening?

  3. How can the accused be helped, so that he is not placed in a situation where he has to perform such an act?


The victim of the crime has already been harmed. One crime has been done, but every court case is a potential second crime about to be committed against another victim.

For example, let us look at the recent case of an eighteen year old boy who was sentenced to fifteen years in jail for sleeping with a girl three years younger than him, but with her consent. Even though laws are in place against such behaviour, the fact of the matter is that the sentence in this case is a greater crime on its own, because it will not only cost the country an amount of money (theft of public funds), but it will not serve in any way to resocialise the boy. Rather, his term in prison will force him to associate with real criminals, and that is the most likely way he would become one.

Furthermore, a mental rape of the girl in question occurred, and the criminal was the court. The bad part of child molestation is that the child learns to associate sexual activity with "bad" things happening. It associates it with pain and problems. This fifteen year old girl, as a result of her sexual activity, was suddenly thrust into a traumatic court situation, made to speak to strangers about private things, and then see the man she slept with locked into jail for fifteen years. What type of association would that place in her mind?

The correct sentence in that case would be to place the boy on probation and make him see a psychologist. That would serve a purpose, the girl would be spared, and the boy could come out a better man.

My point is a simple one, one that everybody should be aware of, but which we don't think about. Prison is not a way to take revenge on criminals. It is a way of correcting a wrong.

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Poll
The point of prison is?
o Revenge 16%
o Resocialize 25%
o Safer society 58%

Votes: 74
Results | Other Polls

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Resocialize or take revenge on criminals? | 203 comments (183 topical, 20 editorial, 3 hidden)
Why not? (1.27 / 11) (#1)
by sllort on Wed Jan 28, 2004 at 04:22:21 PM EST

Revenge is good.
--
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
Yes! (2.30 / 10) (#2)
by Ogygus on Wed Jan 28, 2004 at 04:23:03 PM EST

Especially for my prison stocks!!

The mice will see you now.
[ Parent ]
bullshit (2.70 / 10) (#6)
by gibichung on Wed Jan 28, 2004 at 04:56:10 PM EST

Dixon was charged with false imprisonment, aggravated assault, sexual battery, and rape -- I think it's safe to say that the girl was "traumatized" before the verdict was read.

He was convicted of statutory rape and aggravated child molestation because, even though the jury ruled the sex to have not been rape [the papers are incorrect in calling it "consensual," as a 15-year-old cannot consent by statute], he beat her up in the process. This was not surprising, considering his history of deviant, violent sexual behavior. So, you have lack of consent and violence -- making it an aggravated rape.

Also, get your facts straight: he was sentenced to 10 years [as is mandatory for his crime], not 15.

-----
"No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we require him to obey it." -- Theodore Roosevelt

splitting hairs (2.00 / 4) (#7)
by pyro9 on Wed Jan 28, 2004 at 05:11:15 PM EST

Since the jury found a charge of rape inappropriate, it seems likely that at least 'willing' would be an applicable term.

As for statutory rape, that may technically be true, but I doubt it was the intent of the law. Interpreted litterally, a couple the same age (under the age of consent) can BOTH commit statutory rape simultaineously. Nonsense!

So we're left with violence. Sounds like he needs some serious counciling and a long probation to force him to attend.

In any event, I fail to see how locking him up until he's 28 is going to do anything but de-socialize him, practically guaranteeing that he will become a lifetime criminal.


The future isn't what it used to be
[ Parent ]
You sir.... (1.20 / 5) (#52)
by flippy on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 01:09:01 PM EST

"So we're left with violence. Sounds like he needs some serious counciling and a long probation to force him to attend."

Talk about missing the point

"In any event, I fail to see how locking him up until he's 28 is going to do anything but de-socialize him, practically guaranteeing that he will become a lifetime criminal."

Because forced counceling WORKS!.  You sir... are an idiot.

Flippy

[ Parent ]

And your point would be.... (3.00 / 4) (#85)
by pyro9 on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 08:35:31 PM EST

The point is to make sure he doesn't cause harm to society again. The first step is to identify what action is harmful. I at least made an attempt to do that.

Frankly, I'm not so certain that forced counciling will work, but it has a better chance than no counciling does.

Resocializing him to a prison society does not strike me as likely to make him more adjusted to society on the outside. As his first venture into the 'adult world' though, it does seem likely to set him up with a large variety of dysfunctional coping skills that will do a fine job of preparing him for life as a three time loser.

If you insist that there must be a punishment as well as a correction, cane him. While brutal and primitive, it will do less lasting harm.


The future isn't what it used to be
[ Parent ]
History of violent deviant sexual behaviour? (1.14 / 7) (#10)
by psychologist on Wed Jan 28, 2004 at 05:39:12 PM EST

I believe that is not true. Showing your penis to someone is not violent deviant behaviour.

[ Parent ]
I'd say (2.50 / 6) (#12)
by gibichung on Wed Jan 28, 2004 at 06:08:04 PM EST

That groping the crotch of a female student against her will constitutes violence.

He denied that incident just like he intially denied having sex with this girl.

Several versions of his story later, he only denies raping her. I think he got off light with ten years.

-----
"No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we require him to obey it." -- Theodore Roosevelt
[ Parent ]

Wait a min (1.12 / 8) (#13)
by psychologist on Wed Jan 28, 2004 at 06:10:56 PM EST

If a girl groped your crutch, and then slept with you, you'd sentence her to 10 years?

"But the warning seemed not to take. The next year there was another incident, in which Dixon allegedly groped a member of the high school track team after practice.

"That didn't happen at all," said Dixon. "It was made up. There was no touching, however they said it, the bottom or vagina.",P> According to Conway, who has also investigated this allegation, the girl said "Mr. Dixon placed his hands inside of her shorts."

So basically, he patted her bottom as she passed. WOW! Execute the boy!

[ Parent ]

You're illiterate (2.50 / 6) (#15)
by gibichung on Wed Jan 28, 2004 at 06:17:27 PM EST

First, there were different girls in all three incidents. All under sixteen.

Second, I've never heard a definition of "pat" that places one's hand inside someone's clothing.

-----
"No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we require him to obey it." -- Theodore Roosevelt
[ Parent ]

I just read that article (1.00 / 11) (#14)
by psychologist on Wed Jan 28, 2004 at 06:17:17 PM EST

I REALLY cannot believe that you are such an ANIMAL that you can defend this sentence. You UTTERLY disgust me. If I met, I'd smack you in the face.

Read the article for heavens sake.

A normal kid did stuff that every kid does. These are stuff that would be gone if not for this case. Noone would remember them. I did stuff like that.

But you DARE to use this to defend the sentencing of a child to 10 years imprisonment? What the hell are you? You are a brute. You are one of those people who would be there stringing up thiefs on trees.

I speak from the heart : people like you are the scum of the earth, and I really cannot see that you can make such a statement and live with yourself. You are a cruel fanatic, and I PRAY that something changes in your life to make you a better person. You are utterly UGLY inside.

[ Parent ]

Again, you are illiterate (2.50 / 6) (#16)
by gibichung on Wed Jan 28, 2004 at 06:34:45 PM EST

My concern is with your willful misrepresentation of the facts of the case in your article. For posterity:
For example, let us look at the recent case of an 18 year old boy who was sentenced to 15 years in jail for sleeping with a girl 3 years younger than him, but with her consent. Even though laws are in place against such behaviour, the fact of the matter is that the sentence in this case is a greater crime on its own, because it will not only cost the country an amount of money (theft of public funds), but it will not serve in any way to resocialise the boy. Rather, his term in prison will force him to associate with real criminals, and that is the most likely way he would become one.

Furthermore, a mental rape of the girl in question occurred, and the criminal was the court. The bad part of child molestation is that the child learns to associate sexual activity with "bad" things happening. It associates it with pain and problems. This 15 year old girl, as a result of her sexual activity, was suddenly thrust into a traumatic court situation, made to speak to strangers about private things, and then see the man she slept with locked into jail for 15 years. What type of association would that place in her mind?

The correct sentence in that case would be to place the boy on probabation and make him see a psychologist. That would serve a purpose, the girl would be spared, and the boy could come out a better man.

You don't even bother to mention the fact that she accused him of rape or even suggest that it might be true.

-----
"No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we require him to obey it." -- Theodore Roosevelt
[ Parent ]
YHBT (none / 2) (#81)
by WetherMan on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 07:16:13 PM EST

YHL etc etc etc
---
fluorescent lights make me look like old hot dogs
[ Parent ]
The jury seems unhappy (none / 0) (#178)
by Eccles on Mon Feb 02, 2004 at 06:50:14 PM EST

Much more than any of us, the jury has a decent grasp on the details of the case. From statements some of the jurors have made, the sentence was way out of proportion with what they expected for the charges for which they found him guilty. In general, I think sentences should be in line with what the jury thinks the punishment should be, rather than the judge or the legislature.

[ Parent ]
I think further to that is.. (2.00 / 4) (#9)
by cosmokramer on Wed Jan 28, 2004 at 05:30:25 PM EST

One of the biggest problems is with repeat offences.  People who conduct crimes repeatedly are definitely not getting corrected before they are released.  However I do agree punishment needs to fit the crime and that it is often far too strong for the crime committed.  I think people who commit first time offences should be given a better chance and much lesser sentences but criminals who repeat especially more than twice should be given extra severe time in jail as they clearly don't "get it" or are possibly incapable of interacting with social society.  

And yes using things like for example "Look at this cute innocent little girl that this enraged mad man brutally slaughtered" as scare tactics to a jury for being lenient on someone is quite terrible.  Whats the difference between this "innocent little girl" and say an older man that not many people liked.  However I guarantee in trials such things could be proven in statistics to have an effect.

The whole system stinks.. needs work :)

Sorry (1.40 / 10) (#19)
by fae on Wed Jan 28, 2004 at 07:31:08 PM EST

Your rational thinking and logic is not welcome on K5.

A thought: Revenge can unintentionally effect #1 (acting as a deterrent).

-- fae: but an atom in the great mass of humanity

I don't really see your point (2.85 / 7) (#20)
by melia on Wed Jan 28, 2004 at 07:38:01 PM EST

You might think right now that it would act as a deterrent to other would-be criminals, but the very act of constructing a death penalty in America involves the manipulation of people to make them want revenge on a person.

Eh? In what way does this invalidate the proposition that the death penalty acts as a deterrent?

Nobody ever thinks of the accused as a person simply affected by unfortunate circumstances.

Yes they do. I believe in the good ol' USA it's called "second degree murder" or something like that. Besides, I should think it's implicit in the system that the Judge and Jury decide whether there were mitigating circumstances.

My point is a simple one, one that everybody should be aware of, but which we don't think about. Prison is not a way to take revenge on criminals. It is a way of correcting a wrong.

A society where no-one is responsible for their actions will not work. It cannot work where everyone is a "victim of circumstance", and so the only wrong that can occur is the wrong choice the criminal makes when he decides to commit a crime. Prison cannot correct wrongs, it can lock people away from society or attempt to integrate them back into society. For some it will succeed, others, it's impossible. That's all.
Disclaimer: All of the above is probably wrong

You're right about one thing... (2.00 / 4) (#33)
by fae on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 01:28:35 AM EST

The disclaimer.

-- fae: but an atom in the great mass of humanity
[ Parent ]
Types of punishment (2.83 / 6) (#22)
by Brandybuck on Wed Jan 28, 2004 at 08:50:51 PM EST

There are different reasons for criminal punishment. As I see it, the modern Western reasons are are rehabilitation, restitution, and removal.

Not every prisoner can be rehabilitated, and it is impossible to know in advance which ones can be. Consequently, a system that recognizes rehabilitation as punishment, reserves it for minor crimes and some first time offenders. Punishments are generally minor and involve little or no prison time. A minor example is traffic school. A major example is "boot" camp.

The purpose of restitution is common, and frequently combined with rehabilitation. You have damaged society and now you must repair it. To be effective, the restitution must be greater than the damage, or there is no incentive to curtail the behavior.

If the above two worked, we would have a much better world. But unfortunately they do not. Some crimes are simply too much to trust that rehabilitation and restitution has permanently altered the criminal's behavior. The other reason for punishment is the removal from society. We imprison murderers and rapists for a very long time because we want them away from us. We want them out of our communities. Capital punishment is also a type of removal. It's purpose is not to deter, but to permanently remove an especially violent criminal from society.

There are other types of punishments in other societies. One in particular is prevention. It keeps trying to make a headway here, but has never gotten a good foothold. A minor example is ankle bracelets that constantly monitor where the offender is at all times. On the "cruel and unusual" side, is the selective maiming of the criminal. Steal once lose your hand. Steal again and lose the other. Steal a third time and you get to experience the permanent removal from society.

But whatever the reason for punishment, it is never for revenge, despite the wishes of the victims. And of the reasons listed here, only restitution counts as "a way of correcting a wrong."

revenge is a vital ingredient (none / 3) (#120)
by speek on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 07:50:53 PM EST

Let's say a man rapes and kills your wife. For whatever reason, it's determined that slapping an ankle bracelet on the man is good enough to prevent it from happening again, and meanwhile, the perp has demonstrated productivity in society, so no prison time.

Well, you might decide that's not enough and go kill him. If you wouldn't, be sure that there are plenty who would. Institutionalized revenge is necessary to prevent escalating violence.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

what I want (none / 1) (#135)
by Brandybuck on Sat Jan 31, 2004 at 02:01:10 PM EST

What I want should be very separate and distinct from what the law wants. Otherwise democracy degenerates into mob rule.

Should your scenario happen to me, I would want revenge, and a set of very sharp pruning shears. Thank goodness the law won't let me have me way!

[ Parent ]

the law? (none / 0) (#138)
by speek on Sat Jan 31, 2004 at 03:52:25 PM EST

The law doesn't do anything. Police do it. If you want your revenge with the pruning shears, the police don't stop you. They arrest you afterward. However, if all they do is put an anklet on you, and then your victim's family has the same attitude as you.... Hopefully, you can see where this goes.

Our society holds together from majority agreement, not from the force of law. If too many people broke the law, we'd degenerate into mob rule or martial law. Our happy array of freedoms depends on the vast majority of people behaving themselves. You can't deny human nature, so institutionalized revenge has to be good enough to supplant your need for revenge - it's an important aspect of helping people behave.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

Woah there.. (2.60 / 5) (#23)
by ph317 on Wed Jan 28, 2004 at 10:10:19 PM EST


First off, your example of the recent sex case is a poor one, considering today's coverage of the matter on snopes.com.  I take their treatment of the matter as fairly fair, which makes the case not as clear cut as you would like to draw your conclusions from.

Secondly, you shouldn't intermingle death penalties and the follies of the prison system.  They are both complex subjects worthy of book-length treatments.  Both have been the subject of many books, come to think of it.  Those books went a lot deeper than your treatise, and still failed to convince the population as a whole of a certain point of view.  This implies that this is a matter of opinion and moral judgement, and that individuals tend to be divided on the subject.

Here's a more interesting (to me) argument against the death penalty:

Start with the assumption that death penalties in this country are upheld as ultimate deterrents, not as punishments.  Whatever you may think they are, that is their stated purpose.  A more interesting moral question then arises from this fact:  Is it morally justifiable to kill one man for the sole reason of possibly deterring an unknown future criminal from committing an unknown future crime?  I think clearly it is not, so one is left to admit that the deterring death penalty has to be justified by the fact that the man committed a heinous crime, which allows us to bend our moral ruler on the question above.  Therefore, we are in fact executing this man as punishment for his actions, deterrence is not the sole motive, and cannot survive logically as the sole motive without punishment as a predecessor.  Assuming I have made no logical fallacies in the trip from the singular statment that the death penalty is normally justified as a detterent (combined with the assumed human morality that one cannot kill a man for another man's possible future actions) to the fact that it is in fact a punishment, then this position held by our legal system is in fact irrational.

Life has a finite price. (2.50 / 4) (#32)
by fae on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 01:26:20 AM EST

"...I think clearly it is not..."

Do we think the same?

In addition, some things need to be destroyed because they have purely negative influences, even if the things are people.

-- fae: but an atom in the great mass of humanity
[ Parent ]

that's (none / 3) (#78)
by WetherMan on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 06:59:23 PM EST

a pretty subjective statment, and pretty presumptious of you to think that your viewpoint is necessarily the right one.

Maybe we should start forcing the juries to kill the people they condem, death-by-firing-squad style.  I think we'd see a lot less use of this barbaric tradition.
---
fluorescent lights make me look like old hot dogs
[ Parent ]

death penalty is always wrong (nt) (1.80 / 5) (#54)
by phred on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 01:52:36 PM EST



[ Parent ]
but sometimes it's the right thing to do. (nt) (2.40 / 5) (#67)
by fae on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 05:00:14 PM EST



-- fae: but an atom in the great mass of humanity
[ Parent ]
I disagree with what you say (none / 2) (#107)
by phred on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 08:34:39 AM EST

but will defend your right to say it!

[ Parent ]
Deterrence... (none / 3) (#100)
by Znork on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 04:20:19 AM EST

The death penalty is pointless as a deterrent anyway; the crimes that merit the death penalty are rarely committed as calculated risks.

Now, if you imposed the death penalty for other activities such as speeding, littering or jaywalking it would actually have an effect, as these actually often are done with a cost/benefit analysis of sorts.

[ Parent ]

Deterrence is a straw man... (none / 0) (#185)
by trimethyl on Tue Feb 03, 2004 at 12:01:29 PM EST

Deterence of other criminals is seldom argued in the defense of the death penalty anymore, at least among the educated. The real "deterrence" is that the dead don't commit murders. The argument goes something like this: If a person shows a propensity for murder, the only way to be sure that the person won't murder again is to kill them.

Not that it's an acceptable excuse for the death penalty. Nor is it realistic: we do possess the means of detaining even the most violent of criminals. The proper solution for the beligerent is containment and correction, even to the point of keeping them in solitary for life, if necessary.



[ Parent ]
Some people cannot be fixed. (2.50 / 4) (#26)
by Mr.Surly on Wed Jan 28, 2004 at 11:12:00 PM EST

Some people cannot be fixed, no matter how hard you try to "resocialize", "reintegrate", or "rehabilitate".  To believe that everyone can be rehabilitated is naive.

Pragmatically, the death penalty eliminates a dangerous, expensive problem.  The flip side is false convictions.  If we could guarantee that the justice system never sent an "innocent" to the chair, then there'd be no reason not to do away with those that cannot have any hope of returning to society.

Cost of death penalty (none / 3) (#28)
by yamla on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 12:03:29 AM EST

While I agree with the rest of your comment, you cannot say that the death penalty, at least in the U.S., is cost-effective. It costs more to execute a criminal on death row in the U.S., on average, than it does to keep them in jail for the rest of their lives. This may be based in part on the cost of public defenders but the fact remains, it is not a cost-effective solution at the moment in the U.S.

[ Parent ]
What I meant is ... (none / 2) (#35)
by Mr.Surly on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 01:40:27 AM EST

... it should be more cost effective.  The fact that it isn't points to a differnt problem.

[ Parent ]
I agree.. (none / 3) (#74)
by EOIAI on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 06:15:36 PM EST

That is why in Texas we put in a express lane to the needle of death. And I am damn proud of it.. I feel bad that there is always a chance that there could be innocents on death row, and that should be a law change to the insure a conviction is prudent, but.. I like the death penalty... the only reason it isn't a deterant as we would like it is because of the justice system. If we make it quick,dirty and public chances are you will have less crime.. IMHO.

[ Parent ]
that's pretty barbaric (2.40 / 5) (#77)
by WetherMan on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 06:56:05 PM EST

you could at least come up with a decent basis for your belief that the death penalty lessens crime.

Personally I'd rather keep inmates locked away, maybe we could invade iceland and keep the world's inmates there?  Seems to have worked for Australia pretty well.

"A nation poll (Peter Hart Research Poll) of police chiefs in 1995 found that only 1% of them thought the death penalty was an effective law enforcement tool.  Asked how they would reduce crime, the police chiefs cited such measures as combatting drug abuse, building a better economy, and restricting access to guns."
---
fluorescent lights make me look like old hot dogs
[ Parent ]

barbaric..? (none / 0) (#175)
by EOIAI on Mon Feb 02, 2004 at 11:17:51 AM EST

A good point.. but, it is just my personal belief. If a crime is commented and during that crime a person dies, I think the person commenting the crime should pay for his life.

And nice comment about the police chiefs. They said that it wasnt a effective law enforcement tool. What I would like to know, if they believe in the use of the death penality. And believe it or not, of all the friends I have, most of us have signs that read "Properity protected with 357", and would you believe not one of our houses has ever been broken into. And I have lived in some of the worst places in D/FW. (oak cliff, Willmer) where my neibors have been robed on a number of occasions.. A smart person will not take a chance of getting killed if the risk is to high. I don't know.. I guess if the justice system was actually more effective, and actually shorten the process of putting people to death for horrific crimes, with out the freaking 10 years of bull shit, then I am willing to bet you will see violent crimes fall. But, who truly knows.. Until the laws change for or against, we all will never truly know.



[ Parent ]
It is also naive (none / 2) (#40)
by Viliam Bur on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 05:18:41 AM EST

to believe that lawyers are able to tell, which people can be resocialized, and which have to be killed. However we let them make this choice.

[ Parent ]
I guess you didn't read ... (none / 3) (#49)
by Mr.Surly on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 11:06:34 AM EST

... this part:

If we could guarantee that the justice system never sent an "innocent" to the chair, then there'd be no reason not to do away with those that cannot have any hope of returning to society.

Let me translate:  Our system is imperfect, and innocent people are often sent to prison, or to death.  Because of that, the death penalty becomes much less pragmatic and appealing.

Lets boil it down some more: I'm not naive enough to believe that our system is good enough to make life-and-death decisions.

[ Parent ]

Not everyone can be rehabilated (2.25 / 4) (#30)
by Big Sexxy Joe on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 12:42:18 AM EST

About 3% of males and 1% of females have antisocial personality disorder.  These people essentially have no consciences.

When they commit crimes their recidivism rate is very high if they are released.  Often the best way to prevent a repetition from happening is to keep the offender in jail forever or execute them.

I'm like Jesus, only better.
Democracy Now! - your daily, uncensored, corporate-free grassroots news hour

Antisocials... (none / 2) (#99)
by Znork on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 04:11:57 AM EST

Of course, a lot of those also happen to be highlevel corporate executives, politicians and lawyers. Having no conscience is a very good asset to have when making a career.

Of course, in the interest of preventing human suffering and crime I'd argue it would probably be an even better idea to put them on medication and in therapy before they cause their damage.

[ Parent ]

There is no treatment for antisocials (none / 1) (#152)
by Big Sexxy Joe on Sun Feb 01, 2004 at 01:16:13 PM EST

No medication and therapy actually seems to make them worse.

I'm like Jesus, only better.
Democracy Now! - your daily, uncensored, corporate-free grassroots news hour
[ Parent ]
There's a third reason (2.83 / 12) (#36)
by godix on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 01:47:56 AM EST

I support the death penalty in cases where the person is obviously guilty of a crime so horrible that society can not take the chance that this person might someday escape jail and repeat it. Since you bring up Hussein I'll use him as an example, it is claimed that mass murders of thousands were ordered by him over the decades he was in power. The potential risk to literally thousands of people if he is left alive justifies his death, assuming of course it can be conclusively proven that he personally ordered those murders instead of just being in power when they happened. If you think there's no chance at all of Hussein ever repeating his actions then I suggest you study French history, specifically Napoleon.

NOTE: This does NOT mean I support the death penalty as America practices it. The level of proof required and the potential for harm are both way too low in American courts. I can't see more than a half dozen cases a year worldwide that would fit my justification of the death penalty, I certainly can't defend or condone Americas rate of murdering inmates.

I will do whatever the Americans want, because I saw what happened in Iraq, and I was afraid.
- General Qaddafi

Interesting point (none / 3) (#43)
by nebbish on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 06:05:22 AM EST

The death penalty for genocide is a form of the death penalty I think I might support.

---------
Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee
[ Parent ]

Something more to think about (2.75 / 4) (#37)
by kesuari on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 02:26:48 AM EST

I try to be a nice person (but I don't always, or maybe not even usually, succeed). But what about if in a fit of madness I murder someone? How could you tell if was reformed? How do you know that you can avoid another fit of madness involving another death? How do you know that me trying to be a nice person isn't just the charade of brutally evil person desiring to kill a few people?

On the other hand, it'll be pretty difficult for Saddam Hussein to ever become the dictatorial ruler of another country. He won't be able to commit the same crimes again.

On the one hand, the psychologist's arguments would demand that we shouldn't do anything to Hussein. His crimes won't be repeated. On the other hand, I should be treated similarly to a pathological killer who'll pretend to be reformed to get out of jaol to kill again. The Saddam's treatment is totally unfair (though, of course, so is killing him, or putting him away for the rest of his life). As for me? I'd punish me (and removing my freedom for a while, but not too long a while, would be a very effective way of punishing me) and send me to a psychologist/therapist, but keep me away from career criminals because we don't to distort me into one too (I wouldn't send me to a mental home, but jaols should have totally separate areas for totally separate people).

He does mention the deterrent (none / 2) (#41)
by Bjorniac on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 05:52:45 AM EST

Under this scheme Saddam would be punished (locked up, whatever) to show other dictators that you don't get away with it.
Freedom for RMG! Join the Jihad...
[ Parent ]
Got confused by earier comment (none / 1) (#103)
by kesuari on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 06:13:11 AM EST

I was confused an earlier comment which I thought was in the article proper: That deterrents are unethical because it's punishing you for other people's potential deeds.

But that notwithstanding, psychologist also points out that few would be deterred by his action. Though on the other hand, there's godix with the quote from General Qaddafi as his sig: 'I will do whatever the Americans want, because I saw what happened in Iraq, and I was afraid'.

[ Parent ]

I think that (2.57 / 7) (#39)
by whazat on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 04:27:01 AM EST

Long prison sentances and the death sentances are a primitive, and unconcious, form of eugenics.

I agree. (none / 2) (#65)
by fae on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 04:57:00 PM EST

We must use long prison sentences and execution to weed out those of us who would destroy all of us.

-- fae: but an atom in the great mass of humanity
[ Parent ]
My statement was non-normative - nt (none / 2) (#82)
by whazat on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 08:06:57 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Now if we could only imprison/castrate/execute (none / 2) (#89)
by vyruss on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 10:30:53 PM EST

all the idiots in the world... (if that includes me, then so be it). But who's to say who's an idiot and who's not?

  • PRINT CHR$(147)

[ Parent ]
Revenge is another word for justice (2.33 / 6) (#42)
by nebbish on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 06:03:49 AM EST

And although it can be damaging, ignoring wronged people's need for revenge will lead to them feeling justice hasn't been done, which can cause problems.

Revenge is negative and unsavoury, but it's there, and it shouldn't be ignored.

---------
Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee

Revenge vs Justice (3.00 / 5) (#53)
by prometheus on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 01:34:08 PM EST

Revenge is the direct action of the victim or associates of the victim, while Justice is the action of some sort of legal system against the perpetrator of the crime.
--
<omnifarad> We've got a guy killing people in DC without regard for his astro van's horrible fuel economy
[ Parent ]
We shall let the victims have their revenge. (2.50 / 3) (#64)
by fae on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 04:55:41 PM EST

And then they can go to jail too.

-- fae: but an atom in the great mass of humanity
[ Parent ]
Christ (2.57 / 7) (#44)
by 5pectre on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 06:44:28 AM EST

For example, let us look at the recent case of an eighteen year old boy who was sentenced to fifteen years in jail for sleeping with a girl three years younger than him, but with her consent.

Thats breaking the law???? Dude you're country is fucked up.

"Let us kill the English, their concept of individual rights might undermine the power of our beloved tyrants!!" - Lisa Simpson [ -1.50 / -7.74]

There's a lot more to it ... (none / 3) (#57)
by sonovel on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 03:35:22 PM EST

There's a lot more to it than that simple sentence: "the recent case of an eighteen year old boy who was sentenced to fifteen years in jail for sleeping with a girl three years younger than him, but with her consent."

Including the fact that she says she was raped (though he wasn't convicted of rape).

Including the fact that the guy had a history of sexual attacks including exposing himself and innapropriate sexual contact.

This case may very well be an example of manditory minimums gone awry. But there is also evidence to suggest that this wasn't simply consensual sex. Of course, since this was a manditory minumum sentence, the surrounding issues were not considered in sentancing.

Oh, and it was 10 years, not 15.

And by the way, what country are you from? Are you sure that your country doesn't consider similar situations illegal? What is the age of consent in your country?

[ Parent ]

hmmm. That's so typical (none / 3) (#93)
by livus on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 11:59:21 PM EST

of Psychologist to leave out the bit where the girl said she was raped.

I think some countries/states have a different law for when both people are under the age of consent than for if one is over it, though?

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]

It's that way where I live (none / 2) (#106)
by Grognard on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 08:19:35 AM EST

there has to be a three-year or more difference between the ages for it to be statutory rape.

[ Parent ]
Sorry Man (none / 1) (#101)
by 5pectre on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 05:09:47 AM EST

going from the story, that is fucked up.

From what you say, fair enough...

"Let us kill the English, their concept of individual rights might undermine the power of our beloved tyrants!!" - Lisa Simpson [ -1.50 / -7.74]

[ Parent ]

Shouldn't be punishished if not convicted (none / 0) (#134)
by GhostfacedFiddlah on Sat Jan 31, 2004 at 12:45:12 PM EST

If the court determined that he didn't rape her, then he shouldn't be punished for it.  His sentence shouldn't be increased because of it.  As far as the judge and jury should be concerned, it was completely consensual.

Maybe he does deserve the 10 years for the sum total of his sins.  But if he hasn't been found guilty, the state has no right to exact that punishment.

[ Parent ]

liberalizing prisons (2.00 / 5) (#45)
by circletimessquare on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 07:14:32 AM EST

and the penal code is one thing

but you can't fight the basic fact that people commit crimes, and should be punished

that fact will never go away, ever... no amount of economic and social justice, no amount of education, no amount of goodwill, nothing will change the fact that statistically speaking, there will be people who will do turly evil cold-hearted, shocking, unforgivable things

and they should be punished

yes, more schools, less prisons

but also: there will always be prisons

btw, what do you think of this, fair kuro5hin?:

http://news.com.au/common/story_page/0,4057,8523168^13762,00.html

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

Punishment bad. Isolation good. (none / 3) (#70)
by fn0rd on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 05:27:15 PM EST

but you can't fight the basic fact that people commit crimes, and should be punished

Sure I can. I see no reason why people should be punished for criminal behavior. They instead should be prevented from repeating the behavior. That these may entail essentially the same remedies may make it seem a point of semantics, but the focus on punishment rather than protection of law-abiding citizens coarsens our society IMO.

This fatwa brought to you by the Agnostic Jihad
[ Parent ]

semantics (2.50 / 3) (#71)
by circletimessquare on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 05:37:15 PM EST

to some, isolation is a worse punishment than physical pain

so it's just a matter of semantics, we're talking about the same thing

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Hilarious. (none / 2) (#86)
by cburke on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 08:53:59 PM EST

Why spend a lot of money on a lawyer and try to buy your way out of a conviction, when you can just buy your way out of prison?  Cheaper and faster for all involved.  Capitalism at its best.  ;)

[ Parent ]
I think that we should so away with schools. (none / 0) (#180)
by skyknight on Mon Feb 02, 2004 at 09:10:13 PM EST

We should only have libraries. Schools are almost as bad as prisons, in terms of the social scarring they cause.

We should have well funded libraries where anything is possible, and nothing is compulsory.

I'm being completely serious. What do you think?



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
15 years for consensual sex (2.72 / 11) (#47)
by werner on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 09:55:36 AM EST

and Cheech is in prison for selling bongs. Meanwhile, Kenny Lay is still wandering around, free as a bird. Remind me what happened to that drunk senator (or something) who murdered someone with his car? 15 months, wasn't it?

The US justice system is undoubtedly one of the most fucked up systems in the world. It makes the imperial measurement system look logical by comparison.

Is it about money? Is it about politics? Religion? How can the legal system in a supposedly developed and democratic society rival Sharia systems for the insanity of its verdicts?

What's it about (2.00 / 4) (#63)
by fae on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 04:53:02 PM EST

Probably the fact that the Senator is an important part of society, and Cheech is a useless burnt out pot-head.

-- fae: but an atom in the great mass of humanity
[ Parent ]
Maybe, (2.25 / 4) (#72)
by werner on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 05:59:36 PM EST

but he didn't kill anyone, did he? I don't see how you can call a drunk-driver an important part of society, so you must be a troll.

[ Parent ]
Well (none / 0) (#198)
by Lagged2Death on Wed Feb 11, 2004 at 01:30:00 PM EST

I don't really know that much about Tommy Chong, but it at least appears that he was a successful entepreneur, the owner of an apparently thriving business, i.e., the living embodiment of a capitalist hero. I'm not making a value judgement here, I just think that "useless burnt out pot-head" probably isn't very accurate.

The drunk-driving case in question is probably that of Bill Janklow, a Congressman (not a Senator) from South Dakota, who got 100 days in jail after killing another motorist. This, after 13 traffic citations in as many years, and a history of not only driving recklessly, but bragging about it. Ordinary citizens of South Dakota charged with similar crimes usually get many years in prison. Whether the Congressman - whether any Congressman - is an "important part of society" is a question I leave up to you.

Starfish automatically creates colorful abstract art for your PC desktop!
[ Parent ]

simple (none / 3) (#80)
by Polverone on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 07:14:15 PM EST

How can the legal system in a supposedly developed and democratic society rival Sharia systems for the insanity of its verdicts?

People remember/notice/talk about things that have gone wrong, not those that have gone right. The US justice system is far from perfect, but even if it did "the right thing" 99.99% of the time, the ~300 million inhabitants of the US would provide enough justice-gone-awry stories to make it seem like the sky is falling all year long.
--
It's not a just, good idea; it's the law.
[ Parent ]
Chong is in prison. (none / 3) (#92)
by Weembles on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 11:12:50 PM EST

Cheech is still at large and working.

[ Parent ]
And how does one know? (2.60 / 5) (#48)
by cestmoi on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 11:02:42 AM EST

How does one know whether a person who has murdered someone will not do it again? Using Saddam as an example, at what point could he ever be reasonably deemed safe to the outside world?

Seeing as this article was posted by psychologist, this link seems appropriate.

HOW DOES ONE KNOW? (2.50 / 4) (#62)
by fae on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 04:49:43 PM EST

Everyone who has murdered had a first time.

HOW DOES ONE KNOW?

There is a non-zero probability of a normal person committing murder.

HOW DOES ONE KNOW?

There is a non-unity probability of a murderer doing it one more time. Murderers are people too. Can't they change careers? Waiters do.

HOW DOES ONE KNOW?

-- fae: but an atom in the great mass of humanity
[ Parent ]

Bayes (none / 0) (#119)
by cestmoi on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 04:57:53 PM EST

We don't know - we guess. And when we guess wrong too often in one direction, we start guessing in the other direction.

A friend of mine figures when it comes to murder, you get one strike and you're out. For him, first degree murder is heinous enough to put the perp away forever. The downside of that approach of course, is when you have a DA who lies and masks evidence for no purpose other than to notch his gun.

[ Parent ]

How do we know, for you ? (none / 0) (#131)
by aenima on Sat Jan 31, 2004 at 08:23:38 AM EST

How does one know whether a person who has not murdered anyone will not do it some day ?

[ Parent ]
government power (2.33 / 6) (#56)
by cronian on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 03:22:26 PM EST

I think the prison industry is reall just about more government power. By trivilizing criminal offences, the government reduces respect for the law, and gains direct control over millions. Some might call it slavery.

Some complain that welfare makes people dependent on the government, and but prisons really just do the same thing. The criminal justice system is so messed up, would we be better off going back to old fashioned vigalante justice.

Saddam's fate isn't about Saddam, but about the politics of Iraq. Bush needs a show trial to showcase his capture of Saddam to the world.

As far as the punishment goes, Bush needs to keep Saddam quiet, about their past bussiness. How he is punished could potentially be useful for other propoganda purposes as well, although I''m not exactly sure how.

We perfect it; Congress kills it; They make it; We Import it; It must be anti-Americanism
Vigilante Justice, the Bloodthirsty Mob (none / 0) (#155)
by NeantHumain on Sun Feb 01, 2004 at 06:41:37 PM EST

Despite the problems with our justice system, I'd rather have it and my civil rights than a bloodthirsty mob that will come at night to burn me at the stake for being an atheist.

I hate my sig.


[ Parent ]
Or worse... (none / 0) (#184)
by trimethyl on Tue Feb 03, 2004 at 11:44:13 AM EST

A bloodthirsty mob of atheists that will come at night and burn you for being a suspected Christian...

[ Parent ]
Resocialization technology (none / 3) (#58)
by simul on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 03:46:01 PM EST

Memetic engineered large group awareness training could be used to resocialize criminals within 6 months to a year.

Read this book - first 24 pages are free to browse - it rocks
You raise Interesting Points (2.25 / 4) (#60)
by haplopeart on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 03:52:13 PM EST

...How ever I gotta give you a -1 because you end up drawing incorrect conclusions.
  1. Saddam is a murder of his own people, infact he is guilty of genocidal activities against an entire ethnic group.  Putting him to death is not a case of revenge, its a case of permanent removal of his capability to ever do such a thing again.  And removal from the Gene pool so he can't pass on any genes he might have that would encourage that in offspring.
  2.  The Punishment for consentual sex with a 15yo with an 18yo should be nowhere was harsh as even you suggest.  You talking about a 12th grader and a 10 grader here.  They are in the same damn age group.  If in the extreme this severity of the crime can be the difference of a single day.  One day before or after his 18th Birthday.

Bill "Haplo Peart" Dunn
Administrator Epithna.com
http://www.epithna.com

Saddam (none / 2) (#102)
by jmj on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 05:40:17 AM EST

Saddam is a murder of his own people, infact he is guilty of genocidal activities against an entire ethnic group. Putting him to death is not a case of revenge, its a case of permanent removal of his capability to ever do such a thing again.

Saddam didn't commit mass murder just by himself. He had a lot of people he could order around, and he had weapons.
Making sure he has no access to either of those for the rest of his life will also prohibit him from doing it again.



[ Parent ]
both like 1984 -nt- (none / 3) (#69)
by Suppafly on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 05:12:40 PM EST


---
Playstation Sucks.
That's right... (none / 2) (#79)
by Tyler Durden on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 07:08:21 PM EST

Prisons aren't for getting revenge, that's what the death penalty is for.

Ahh, how's that quote go again?  An eye for an eye leaves everyone blind?  or something.

Jesus Christ, EVERYONE is a troll here at k5, even the editors, even rusty! -- LilDebbie

Right.... (none / 1) (#105)
by Grognard on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 08:17:32 AM EST

what happened to the guy who said that?

[ Parent ]
uhm.. (none / 0) (#122)
by Tyler Durden on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 11:48:18 PM EST

It appears that it was Ghandi.  He was assassinated in 1948.

Jesus Christ, EVERYONE is a troll here at k5, even the editors, even rusty! -- LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Why not revenge? (none / 2) (#83)
by debillitatus on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 08:10:03 PM EST

Or, I'll say it this way: what makes you think that a] revenge is not a fitting justification for society to mete out a given punishment, and b] revenge is not a current consideration in deciding which punishments to impose?

Revenge satisfies at least one thing in human society: the establishment of a deterrent. Now, you may say that trying to deter criminals is not a useful point of the justice system, but I would have to disagree with that.

Damn you and your daily doubles, you brigand!

No, no, no... (none / 0) (#128)
by tonedevil on Sat Jan 31, 2004 at 04:01:38 AM EST

I don't say that trying to deter criminals is not a useful point of the justice system. I say that prison is not a very effective deterrent. If it is effective, why such a high rate of recidivism?

As to the question of why not revenge? I'll answer with a question. Is that the society you want to live in?

[ Parent ]

Yes, actually. (none / 1) (#139)
by valar on Sat Jan 31, 2004 at 04:19:23 PM EST

It is my opinion that the day that revenge became a no no in our society was the day the shit started to hit the fan. A lack of revenge makes crime better than obeying the laws of society. Without revenge, you could steal without fear of anything of your own be taken, or even having to give back what you have stolen. You can kill to get your way, and the only thing that happens is that the government pays your cable bills for a lifetime. It leaves the victim with less than he or she had before the crime and the criminal with more, which is a serious tilting in the scales of Justice. It is worth noting that revenge does not imply violence, just an evening of an inbalance under the perception of that imbalance.

[ Parent ]
Hard to know where to start. (none / 0) (#168)
by tonedevil on Mon Feb 02, 2004 at 12:57:24 AM EST

Such a wide target. How about that link of yours, something I've seen used in the past is for the link to somehow backup the argumnent given. This link fails that test since you wrote " It is worth noting that revenge does not imply violence, just an evening of an inbalance under the perception of that imbalance." While the definition you linked to says nothing of the kind, it is a little more like this:

1 To inflict punishment in return for (injury or insult).

2 To seek or take vengeance for (oneself or another person); avenge.

n.

1 The act of taking vengeance for injuries or wrongs; retaliation.

2 Something done in vengeance; a retaliatory measure.

3 A desire for revenge; spite or vindictiveness.

4 An opportunity to retaliate, as by a return sports match after a defeat.

Perhaps these don't necessarily mean violence, but they seem to imply or at least I infer violence as part and parcel. That said, I have to wonder when was this golden age of sociatal revenge and what is the day it ended, with the attendant feces covered fan?

I understand that an individual may feel a need for revenge, but for that to be the way you run a society seems small, mean spirited, and counter productive.

[ Parent ]

The executioner simply sends a man to God (1.14 / 14) (#84)
by sellison on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 08:11:42 PM EST

(or to the other one if the man deserves it). Thus it is not revenge, but rather the moral judgement of society: we send the criminal to the One who can Save him, for he has exhausted our efforts.

Or to put it better I'll leave to the wonderful Mr. Scalia,  where he demonstrates that only atheists should be against the death penalty, and that because they have no true morality:

"It is a matter of great consequence to me, therefore, whether the death penalty is morally acceptable, and I want to say a few words about why I believe it is. Being a Roman Catholic and being unable to jump out of my skin, I cannot discuss that issue without reference to Christian tradition and the church's magisterium discussed earlier in this conference by Cardinal Dulles. Those of you to whom this makes no difference must bear with those portions of my remarks.

The death penalty is undoubtedly wrong unless one accords to the state a scope of moral action that goes beyond what is permitted to the individual.

In my view, the major impetus behind modern aversion to the death penalty is the equation of private morality with governmental morality. That is a predictable, though I believe erroneous and regrettable, reaction to modern democratic self-government.

Few doubted the morality of the death penalty in the age that believed in the divine right of kings, or even in earlier times, St. Paul had this to say : ... "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers, for there is no power but of God. The powers that be are ordained of God.  Whosoever, therefore, resisteth the power resisteth the ordinance of God, and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation, for rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good and thou shalt have praise of the same. For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid, for he beareth not the sword in vain, for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doth evil. Wherefore, ye must needs be subject not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake." Rom 13:1-5.

This is not the Old Testament, I emphasize, but St. Paul. One can understand his words as referring only to lawfully constituted authority or even only to lawfully constituted authority that rules justly, but the core of his message is that government, however you want to limit that concept, derives its moral authority from God. It is the minister of God with powers to revenge, to execute wrath, including even wrath by the sword, which is unmistakably a reference to the death penalty.

Paul, of course, did not believe that the individual possessed any such powers. Indeed, only a few lines before the passage I just read, he said, "Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath, for it is written vengeance is mine, saith the Lord." And in this world, in Paul's world, the Lord repaid, did justice through his minister, the state.

These passages from Romans represent, I think, the consensus of Western thought until quite recent times - not just of Christian or religious thought, but of secular thought regarding the powers of the state. That consensus has been upset, as I suggested, by the emergence of democracy ...

 ... For the believing Christian, death is no big deal. Intentionally killing an innocent person is a big deal, a grave sin which causes one to lose his soul, but losing this physical life in exchange for the next - the Christian attitude is reflected in the words Robert Bolt's play has Thomas More saying to the headsman: "Friend, be not afraid of your office. You send me to God." And when Cramner asks whether he is sure of that, More replies, "He will not refuse one who is so blithe to go to him."

For the non-believer, on the other hand, to deprive a man of his life is to end his existence - what a horrible act. And besides being less likely to regard death as an utterly cataclysmic punishment, the Christian is also more likely to regard punishment in general as deserved. The doctrine of free will, the ability of man to resist temptations to evil is central to the Christian doctrine of salvation and damnation, heaven and hell. The post-Freudian secularist, on the other hand, is more inclined to think that people are what their history and circumstances have made them, and there is little sense in assigning blame ...

... It seems to me that the reaction of people of faith to this tendency of democracy to obscure the divine authority behind government should be not resignation to it but resolution to combat it as effectively as possible, and a principal way of combating it, in my view, is constant public reminder that - in the words of one of the Supreme Court's religion cases in the days when we understood the religion clauses better than I think we now do - "we are a religious people whose institutions presuppose a supreme being."



"No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered as patriots. This is one nation under God."- George H.W. Bush

A few questions... (none / 2) (#91)
by skeptic on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 10:48:26 PM EST

If death should be considered no big deal to an X-ian, then why is murder considered such a grave sin? Doesn't the victim simply get to be with his deity sooner?

As a matter of fact, given that many/most X-ians believe that this world is meant for suffering, then why isn't being murdered considered good luck? If I thought all that stood between me and eternal bliss was a stray bullet, I'd be in the army right now.

Another question; If murder is such a grave sin that it causes one to lose his soul, then how will killing him allow him to be judged by his maker? If one loses his soul, would he not just cease to exist after being put to death?

[ Parent ]
Non-Christian Perspectives (none / 1) (#112)
by virg on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 09:52:23 AM EST

> If death should be considered no big deal to an X-ian, then why is murder considered such a grave sin? Doesn't the victim simply get to be with his deity sooner?

Murder is specifically proscribed by the Bible, so by definition it's a grave sin.

> As a matter of fact, given that many/most X-ians believe that this world is meant for suffering, then why isn't being murdered considered good luck?

Christianity is an apostolic religion in general, so dying removes one from being able to spread God's word. It's considered that God decides when you should move on, and being forced out early is therefore seen as a bad thing.

> Another question; If murder is such a grave sin that it causes one to lose his soul, then how will killing him allow him to be judged by his maker? If one loses his soul, would he not just cease to exist after being put to death?

The belief is that the murderer loses possession of his soul to the Devil, not that it just goes away.

Virg
"Imagine (it won't be hard) that most people would prefer seeing Carrot Top beaten to death with a bag of walnuts." - Jmzero
[ Parent ]
Fundamentally different actions. (none / 0) (#183)
by trimethyl on Tue Feb 03, 2004 at 11:37:51 AM EST

Murder is not merely killing someone; murder is intending to kill someone, or being so recklessly negligent that someone dies. Herein lies the difference between the State and the individual. The problem with allowing individuals to kill one another is that one transgressed is in no position to judge the life of the transgressor; i.e., victims are often prone to seeking revenge. Rather, the State acts as an impartial observer, and thus can judge correctly whether or not a person deserves to die.

This is not to say that there aren't flaws in the system. Given the value of life and the propensity for humans to make mistakes, it is not acceptable to kill a person when there is even the remotest possibility that they might be innocent. But other than this, the death penalty is not morally suspect given the following constraints:

  • There is no question of the accused's guilt.
  • The accused's crime warrants the death penalty.
  • It is reasonable to believe that death is the only manner in which the accused can be prevented from committing future murders.
However, this is seldom the case. In Illinois, more than half of those sentenced to die were later shown to be innocent. That's a terrible percentage - one could abolish the death penalty on the grounds of the incompetence of the justice system alone. Additionally, people do change. Several murderers have turned their lives around while in prison, an event that would never have happened had they been put to death.

I am neither for or against the death penalty, as I realize that there are situations in which killing someone is the only way of protecting society at large. In fact, I would go so far as to say that a potential murder victim has a moral and societal obligation to protect themselves to the point of killing their assailant if necessary, because failure to do so would leave a murderer free to murder others. But I also believe that we must do our utmost to protect the lives of others, even those of whom we disapprove. The only acceptable rational for killing someone is to defend human life. Revenge is never an acceptable reason.



[ Parent ]
Hmm. (none / 3) (#96)
by aphrael on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 01:48:18 AM EST

If death is no big deal for a christian, but is for an atheist, could you not argue that the death penalty is a de facto establishment of religion?

[ Parent ]
An establishment of religion is giving money (none / 2) (#97)
by sellison on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 02:27:25 AM EST

to build a Church.

Enactingly laws based on Christian morality is not establishment, in fact nearly all our laws are based on Christian morality, as is our belief in the inalienable rights of man.

As Justice Scalia points out so well, we especially need firm Christian laws to control the atheists and other non-Christians who don't believe in absolute morality.

And if those laws make some mistakes, it is better to err on the side of firmness, as wrongs done by man will be set right by God.


"No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered as patriots. This is one nation under God."- George H.W. Bush
[ Parent ]

Swing and a Miss (none / 1) (#111)
by virg on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 09:42:42 AM EST

> An establishment of religion is giving money to build a church.

No, it isn't, although that would be one way to execute the establishmant of religion. Establishment of religion is passing laws that favor one particular religious institution over another. Passing a law that is based solely on Christian morality, to the exclusion of another religion (such as outlawing polygamy) is establishment of religion. And while many of our laws are based in Christian morality, just because it has happened in the U.S. doe not make it correct.

> As Justice Scalia points out so well, we especially need firm Christian laws to control the atheists and other non-Christians who don't believe in absolute morality.

How dare you decide that atheists or "other non-Christians" have a flawed view of morality. The First Amendment exists because very Christian men realized the they most certainly did not have the right to force their particular idea of absolute morality on others. You sully their efforts by saying such things about Christian laws, and merely demonstrate that they were much wiser than you, and wrote the Constitution to protect the U.S. from those like you.

Virg
"Imagine (it won't be hard) that most people would prefer seeing Carrot Top beaten to death with a bag of walnuts." - Jmzero
[ Parent ]
In context it means one Christian Church (none / 1) (#121)
by sellison on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 08:18:55 PM EST

established over another, and it was implemented to prevent the common practice of colonial governments establishing a particular church as the supported one, giving it money while passing laws against making the lives of folks belonging to other Christian groups difficult.

It was also in direct response to the establishment of the Church of England by the British kings.

Thus establishment is not violated so long as all Christian churches are treated equally. There were no non-Christian churchs recognized or even discussed by the colonials at the Constitutional Convention, and certainly no acceptance of the myriad of things called "churchs" today: buddhist/moslem/pagan cultists were not welcome in Early America of the Founding Fathers by any stretch of even the most wild-eyed revisionista.

How dare you decide that atheists or "other non-Christians" have a flawed view of morality.

I don't decide for them, they decide to have a flawed view of morality by rejecting the One True God and His Son, Jesus Christ. That is their choice, of course, but that doesn't make it right or even worth 'tolerating'.


"No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered as patriots. This is one nation under God."- George H.W. Bush
[ Parent ]

hmm. (none / 0) (#123)
by aphrael on Sat Jan 31, 2004 at 02:09:57 AM EST

so buddhists should not have civil rights in the free country of the united states?

[ Parent ]
The basic right to accept or reject Jesus (none / 2) (#125)
by sellison on Sat Jan 31, 2004 at 02:52:59 AM EST

belongs to all men, of course. That is what He died to give you, after all.

One can believe in the magic of buddha's belly all he wants so long as he keeps a job, respects the property and person of others. He can believe the others are some sort of karmic illusion or dharmic lesson all he likes or the work of the Great Pumpkin in his titanic struggle with Raven, for that matter.

But that does not mean the Christian government of American, elected and paid for primarily by Christian Americans, should not be free to promote Christian morals and virtues  (and to enforce basic morals and virtues on those who have no internal moral compas of their own) to those who live in various superstitious fantasy worlds.

It is like urging the starving man to eat bread even if he would prefer wine...


"No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered as patriots. This is one nation under God."- George H.W. Bush
[ Parent ]

christian government? (none / 0) (#133)
by aphrael on Sat Jan 31, 2004 at 10:49:46 AM EST

But that does not mean the Christian government of American, elected and paid for primarily by Christian Americans, should not be free to promote Christian morals and virtues

Please show me where in the constitution of the united states, or the constitution of the state of california, it says that i live under a christian government. As far as I can tell, the founding political documents of our state make no such claim.

Your wish that we have a Christian state would constitute a revolution.

[ Parent ]

its a government by the people, of the people (none / 1) (#136)
by sellison on Sat Jan 31, 2004 at 02:07:29 PM EST

for the people, and the people are almost entirely Christian.

There would be something terribly wrong if our's wasn't a Christian government.

It would reveal a coup by the atheist minority, which we the people are slowly trying to get our government back from.


"No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered as patriots. This is one nation under God."- George H.W. Bush
[ Parent ]

Uh... (none / 0) (#140)
by ShiftyStoner on Sat Jan 31, 2004 at 07:52:51 PM EST

 The problem with the government being christian is the first amendment. If the government identifies itself as christian that doesn't really give other religions fair treatment. In god we trust, we, as in the people of America, and god being the christian god. If you don't believe in god your not America? Atheist hardly control the government. If they did America would be in the shape it is in now. Atheists arn't the ones calling the middle east an axses of evil now are we? We arn't on some psychotic quest to destroy the "evil doers". I can't speak for all atheist, but I'm sure as hell not spouting that crap, nor anyone that I know. I don't like the government being able to do whatever the fuck they want, I don't have faith in the government. Because I don't think some god will save us when the shit hits the fan. I would rather try to forsee the future and prepare for it. Try to make the future as bright as possible, not you christians though, oh no, everything is part of gods plan. Fucking morons.
( @ )'( @ ) The broad masses of a population are more amenable to the appeal of rhetoric than to any other force. - Adolf Hitler
[ Parent ]
Christianity in decline (none / 0) (#197)
by skazzel on Mon Feb 09, 2004 at 04:39:35 AM EST

Christianity in the U.S. is declining extremely rapidly.  As of 2001:

"76.5% (159 million) of Americans identify themselves as Christian. This is a major slide from 86.2% in 1990. Identification with Christianity has suffered a loss of 9.7 percentage points in 11 years -- about 0.9 percentage points per year."
(2001 ARIS study)

What does this mean?  If this trend continues, then by about the year 2042, non-Christians will outnumber the Christians in the U.S.

Christians will be happy to learn that Islam, Wicca and Atheism are all experiencing growth as Christianity declines.

I suspect close minded, intolerant Christians like our lovely parent poster are largely responsible for this decline.  So please, keep at it sellison!

Here's my reference for the above info: http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_prac2.htm

[ Parent ]

balancing act (none / 0) (#124)
by aphrael on Sat Jan 31, 2004 at 02:14:29 AM EST

The establishment clause was originally put in to prevent the federal government from creating an official church for the country. The courts have since ruled that it in effect prevents the federal government from endorsing either a religious position or a secular position per se. It creates a fine balancing act that is hard to get right.

But wat I find disturbing in your posts is the notion that the government of the United States can fuck people over because God will make it right; as a voter in that country who does not believe in the Christian God, I consider it within my rights to insist that the state treat me just as it would any other citizen - and that it not insist that I follow your religious code.

[ Parent ]

It's appalling, you people actually run the world. (none / 0) (#145)
by GuileGrimsin on Sun Feb 01, 2004 at 08:02:20 AM EST

 You make me want to vomit. It sends my mind into pandemonium just trying to associate with your way of thinking. I'm struggling against trying to contemplate how fools like you aren't the minority. I might end up with a brain hemorrhage if I think about it any longer.  
~$ Lord Satan
[ Parent ]
Join us (none / 2) (#160)
by sellison on Sun Feb 01, 2004 at 09:59:47 PM EST

and you can relax.

Eternal salvation is a Good Thing, after all.


"No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered as patriots. This is one nation under God."- George H.W. Bush
[ Parent ]

Nah... (none / 0) (#167)
by GuileGrimsin on Mon Feb 02, 2004 at 12:06:01 AM EST

 I'm relaxed now. At the moment thinking about people who think like you had me a bit frazzled.

 I have a better quote for you though.

 "I know I'm bigger than your God. I know that I am real and your God is an idol." - GuileGrimsin
~$ Lord Satan
[ Parent ]

Absolute Morality (none / 0) (#165)
by Shajenko on Sun Feb 01, 2004 at 11:52:45 PM EST

As Justice Scalia points out so well, we especially need firm Christian laws to control the atheists and other non-Christians who don't believe in absolute morality.

Being non-Xian doesn't necessarily mean that you don't believe in absolute morality. For instance, you could believe that the Xian religion is an abomination and that some of its basic tenets are evil. Actually, that doesn't sound unreasonable at all.

[ Parent ]
Hey you, out of the gene pool! (none / 1) (#116)
by Sesquipundalian on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 01:09:45 PM EST

For the believing Christian, death is no big deal.

That's exactly what we rich big-heads just love about you poor small-heads; It's so freakin easy to talk you out of your self-preservation reflex, load you up with bombs and guns and aim you guys at other-big-heads (the ones we don't like of course).

So, question; Do the even-bigger-heads love the fact that it is so easy to talk us big-heads out of our community leadership reflex, and into poisoning our towns and cities with ideas of divisive hatred and calls to violent revolution?

Do the even-bigger-that-those-heads require elaborate liquid cooling systems installed in their huge noses? Could you order fasionable endonasal cooling systems off a nicely designed website? Would they have clever marketing slogans like CoolRule, for when the Plebes have you running a little hot!


Did you know that gullible is not actually an english word?
[ Parent ]
It is quite obvious (none / 1) (#118)
by sllort on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 04:34:57 PM EST

That you hate baby jesus.
--
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
[ Parent ]
You miss the point (none / 0) (#126)
by cronian on Sat Jan 31, 2004 at 03:34:16 AM EST

I think our society needs criminals. It is plainly ignorant to say they should all be disposed of. Even if there were reason to eliminate all criminals, their elimination would only reduce society's ammunity to their activities. The convicts of Europe played a disproportionate role in the founding of both America and Australia. From among many convicts of the Renaissance came the greatest writers.

Even the bible supports this. Man comes from the original sin. It is the sin which sparks the life, and greatness of man. We could all use drugs to achieve the effects of heaven on earth, but even if heaven exists why should we want to go there? Wouldn't total pleasure be a simple total mindless waste?

We perfect it; Congress kills it; They make it; We Import it; It must be anti-Americanism
[ Parent ]
revenge.. (none / 3) (#88)
by MatrixTheorist on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 09:56:31 PM EST

go ahead, kill them. all death leads to life and all life leads to death. just remember that you are destroying what you are afraid you might be. sometimes drastic measures must be taken to keep the lie going.

he gssed teh own pieple (1.00 / 9) (#90)
by JayGarner on Thu Jan 29, 2004 at 10:45:14 PM EST



But what about the children? (1.00 / 7) (#94)
by duffbeer703 on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 12:52:14 AM EST

As we read & type, a child in Mongolia is starving to death.

What are you doing about the poor children. At least you get fed in prison.

What about me... (none / 0) (#149)
by ShiftyStoner on Sun Feb 01, 2004 at 09:14:32 AM EST

 As you read/type, somone is cuming in the shower. That cum will go down the drain and into the water that will eventualy be drank by me. At least the prisoners get the cum deposited strait into their ass holes.
( @ )'( @ ) The broad masses of a population are more amenable to the appeal of rhetoric than to any other force. - Adolf Hitler
[ Parent ]
And I'm posting at the same time! (none / 0) (#188)
by fenix down on Tue Feb 03, 2004 at 10:29:34 PM EST

Uuuuuuunugyeah.

[ Parent ]
I don't understand (3.00 / 5) (#98)
by YesNoCancel on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 03:44:25 AM EST

The correct sentence in that case would be to place the boy on probation and make him see a psychologist. That would serve a purpose, the girl would be spared, and the boy could come out a better man.

Why that? What's so abnormal about a 15-year-old and an 18-year-old having a relationship? This happens all the time, after all. And which strange country are you talking about where this is against the law anyway?

Do you know the term ... (none / 0) (#137)
by sonovel on Sat Jan 31, 2004 at 03:32:14 PM EST

Do you know the term "age of consent"?

Do you know what the age of consent is where you live?

[ Parent ]

Of course (none / 0) (#143)
by YesNoCancel on Sun Feb 01, 2004 at 04:43:06 AM EST

It's fourteen, and even lower (12) if both are of the same age.

[ Parent ]
So ... (none / 0) (#150)
by sonovel on Sun Feb 01, 2004 at 10:10:09 AM EST

It is very similar to the situation presented here. Seems strange to go off and claim that that a law against sex with underage people is so abhorant when your area apparently has a very similar law.

Does a law against sexual contact by adults with 14 year olds really differ all that much from a law against sexual contact with 15 year olds?

[ Parent ]

Brasil (none / 0) (#147)
by hummassa on Sun Feb 01, 2004 at 08:12:25 AM EST

Age of consent: 14.
If any of them is less-than-14, it's statutory rape, independent of the age of the other.
If the other is under 18, it's not a crime/felony, but a juvenile infraction, with can not be punished, but depending on the gravity (p. ex. a 17-yo boy with a 9-yo girl) can grant "socio-educative measure" of up to 3 months in a juvenile jail.

[ Parent ]
someone watched the canadian jail documentary (none / 1) (#104)
by dimaq on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 07:10:50 AM EST

so like spread the word, right?

+1 Section (none / 2) (#109)
by blakdogg on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 08:57:19 AM EST

I am not sure exactly which statutory rape case you are referring to, but in the Marcus Dixon the girl is claiming rape. He was acquitted of this crime, and the other serious charges.

http://news.google.com/news?hl=en&ie=ISO-8859-1&edition=us&q=marcus+ dixon+rape&btnG=Search+News
Woe be onto the United Nations, there nothing but a front.

-1, Ill-informed on prisons. (none / 1) (#110)
by For Whom The Bells Troll on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 09:22:38 AM EST

Please read up on 12th century Dominican friars and their attempts at controlling heretics.

---
The Big F Word.
On the capital punishment issue (none / 2) (#113)
by brain in a jar on Fri Jan 30, 2004 at 10:25:31 AM EST

here is an article from the UK Guardian. It is the story of how a notorious child murder case changed his mind about capital punishment.

It is worth a read.


Life is too important, to be taken entirely seriously.

*ahem* (none / 1) (#127)
by sal5ero on Sat Jan 31, 2004 at 03:57:14 AM EST

Killing a former president will not change world politics in any way.

*cough* Qadafi *cough*

...and Saddam hasn't even been kiled yet



Nope...... (none / 1) (#174)
by Nursie on Mon Feb 02, 2004 at 07:38:15 AM EST

The good colnel offered to come in from the cold and give up all weapons and programs, and hand over the lockerbie bombers 12 years ago.

No-one in the US was listening. Any politician that says that Libya has started to cooperate because of what has happened in Iraq is either ill informed or lying.

Libya offered all of this and in exchange wanted to discuss the lifting of sanctions. Daddy Bush waved them away.

Meta Sigs suck.

[ Parent ]
do you have a link i can read about that? (none / 0) (#182)
by sal5ero on Mon Feb 02, 2004 at 10:05:33 PM EST

couldn't find one on google

[ Parent ]
Had a quick look (none / 0) (#189)
by Nursie on Wed Feb 04, 2004 at 07:36:27 AM EST

And there's not a lot around, but some mention of the affair when you add in the knowledge that it was senator Gary Hart (I think he's the guy that ran or tried to run against bush senior??? not USian so not well clued up on that)

Anyway, at length I found this in the Washington Post

And the same story in Gulf News

I don't know how trustworthy it is, but I posted my original comment after hearing about it in a political satire show on British TV.



Meta Sigs suck.

[ Parent ]
wow, thanks for that /nt (none / 0) (#190)
by sal5ero on Wed Feb 04, 2004 at 09:02:09 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Capital punishment... (none / 1) (#129)
by mikelist on Sat Jan 31, 2004 at 05:56:04 AM EST

...is based on the premise that a person who finds killing people to be personally acceptable as a way of solving common problems needs to be removed permanently from all societies, including the society of criminals in a penitentiary. Simply put, a killer is likely to kill again (not talking about war, police activities, or real self defense), which is not an acceptable possibility. Capital punishment addresses that idea. Revenge is not the main reason, only the aggrieved parties are justified in calling for revenge (although satisfying, I don't think it's reasonable to dwell on revenge). I think society is, or at least should be, past that point.

Explain this... (none / 0) (#130)
by Jim Dabell on Sat Jan 31, 2004 at 07:49:26 AM EST

a person who finds killing people to be personally acceptable as a way of solving common problems needs to be removed permanently from all societies

What does the death penalty have over life imprisonment? Apart from anything else, you can't decide you made a mistake after killing someone and give them their life back.

No doubt somebody is going to moan about taxpayers. Well let the lifers work for their keep. Run call-centres from prisons and auction them off to the highest bidder. It makes a hell of a lot more sense than outsourcing to foreign countries.



[ Parent ]
Re: Explain this... (none / 0) (#159)
by drsmithy on Sun Feb 01, 2004 at 08:11:59 PM EST

What does the death penalty have over life imprisonment?

No ongoing costs, no chance of escape and/or a repeat offence.

Apart from anything else, you can't decide you made a mistake after killing someone and give them their life back.

This is, of course correct - and the only reason I don't support capital punishment. Any non-zero chance of convicting an innocent person is too high to risk.

No doubt somebody is going to moan about taxpayers. Well let the lifers work for their keep. Run call-centres from prisons and auction them off to the highest bidder. It makes a hell of a lot more sense than outsourcing to foreign countries.

A somewhat reasonable solution. Doesn't cover the possibility of escape, however.

[ Parent ]

You are likely to kill (none / 0) (#132)
by aenima on Sat Jan 31, 2004 at 08:52:48 AM EST

Simply put, a killer is likely to kill again (not talking about war, police activities, or real self defense)

You are likely to kill too, just like the killer.

And how could police activities be different than other criminal activities ?

[ Parent ]
Nice (1.50 / 4) (#141)
by ShiftyStoner on Sat Jan 31, 2004 at 08:17:54 PM EST

 I'm all for killing murderers and child rapeists. My problem with the death penalty is I suspect that a VERY large amount of people sentanced to it are inocent. The other problem is they take to long to kill the person, they should lock him up a year and kill him. It's absolutely pointless to keep him alive for years, feeding him, wasting money on him when s/he will never be safe in society and is useless. Wasting $160+ a day on a guy your gana kill? It doesn't make since. Or not killing him at all, and wasting that much on somone who you cant help, or isn't worth the risk to help. Child rape should be worse than murder, instead of all those chomos getting 6 months they should be burnt alive, that would scare the rest of them.

 Sadam, I don't understand why he should be alloud to live. We can never let him go, there is just no way. There is no reason to waste all those tax dollars on somone eeryone hates. I don't think he ever should have been captured anyway, nor do I believe in the war on Iraq. But he is an evil guy, almost as evil as GWB. There is no sence in keeping him alive.

 I agree with you about the teenager though. If there old enough to bleed statutory rape should not apply. As long as they're willing it shouldn't be rape at all, unless they really are a small child.

 With any nonviolent crime rehabilitation should be the #1, and the only concern. Preventing it from hapening again.  
( @ )'( @ ) The broad masses of a population are more amenable to the appeal of rhetoric than to any other force. - Adolf Hitler

Great plan there, chief. (none / 0) (#187)
by fenix down on Tue Feb 03, 2004 at 10:10:53 PM EST

instead of all those chomos getting 6 months they should be burnt alive, that would scare the rest of them.

Yeah, I'll bet that works extra good with all those cold, premeditated, non-chemically-influenced crimes like raping babies.

[ Parent ]

Dude (none / 0) (#194)
by ShiftyStoner on Fri Feb 06, 2004 at 07:23:07 AM EST

 What the fuck did you think I was talking about? I was talking about baby rapers. Child molesters. Now those baby rapers get six month. Not much of a deterant. If people started getting burnt to death, shild molesters would start thinking twice.
( @ )'( @ ) The broad masses of a population are more amenable to the appeal of rhetoric than to any other force. - Adolf Hitler
[ Parent ]
Prisoner Rape vs Death Penalty (none / 2) (#142)
by Baldrson on Sun Feb 01, 2004 at 04:30:56 AM EST

That brings me to the death penalty as a whole. The death penalty in America is implemented as a form of revenge. You might think right now that it would act as a deterrent to other would-be criminals, but the very act of constructing a death penalty in America involves the manipulation of people to make them want revenge on a person.

The death penalty is simply the most economical means of "rehabilitation". When someone is basically worth less than dirt, and you can cheaply turn them into dirt, it is a net ROI. Now the real issue is prisoner rape. It is actually far more widespread than the death penalty and is the most twistedly sadistic form of torture imaginable to a heterosexual man. For example, let's say a wife beater gets thrown into prison and raped. Many would say, not entirely in jest, this is rehabilitation when it is actually just a sick twisted form of revenge if not a sick and twisted expression of one's impotence.

-------- Empty the Cities --------


The Death Penalty Is Expensive (none / 0) (#146)
by hbiki on Sun Feb 01, 2004 at 08:03:46 AM EST

http://www.amnestyusa.org/abolish/cost.html Capital punishment is a far more expensive system than one whose maximum penalty is life in prison. A New York study estimated the cost of an execution at three times that of life imprisonment. In Florida, each execution costs the state $3.2 million, compared to $600,000 for life imprisonment. Studies in California, Kansas, Maryland, and North Carolina all have concluded that capital punishment is far more expensive than keeping someone in prison for life. The greatest costs of the death penalty are incurred prior to and during trial, not in post-conviction proceedings. Even if all post-conviction proceedings were abolished, the death penalty system would still be more expensive than alternative sentences. Under a death penalty system, trials have two separate phases (conviction and sentencing); they are typically preceded by special motions and extra jury selection questioning. More investigative costs are generally incurred in capital cases, particularly by the prosecution. When death penalty trials result in a verdict less than death or are reversed, the taxpayer first incurs all the extra costs of capital pretrial and trial proceedings and must then also pay either for the cost of incarcerating the prisoner for life or the costs of a retrial (which often leads to a life sentence). The death penalty diverts resources from genuine crime control measures. Spending money on the death penalty system means: Taking it away from existing components of the criminal justice system, such as prosecutions of drug crimes, domestic violence, and child Reducing the resources states put into crime prevention, education and rehabilitation, investigative resources, and drug treatment programs. "Elimination of the death penalty would result in a net savings to the state of at least several tens of millions of dollars annually, and a net savings to local governments in the millions to tens of millions of dollars on a statewide basis." --Joint Legislative Budget Committee of the California Legislature, Sept. 9, 1999


---
I take all knowledge to be my province.
- Francis Bacon
biki.net/blog/
[ Parent ]
Hmm... (none / 1) (#148)
by GuileGrimsin on Sun Feb 01, 2004 at 08:58:06 AM EST

 $3.2 mil you say. I would kill him for free, at no cost to me, with my bare hands.

 Let them stay in jail for a day $200, something like $200 for a chair, $200 for a rope, $1000 for the guards to strap him into the chair, $10,000 for the gun, $100 for the bullet, and $5000 for the person to kill him. So, $16,700 if I'm not doing it for them. If they weren't complete fucking morons about it there is no way it would cost them over $20,000. I realize that you or I could get rope for about three dollars, and everything else would be pretty cheap to, besides the gun. The government doesn't seem to be able to get the same great deals as everyone else though, on anything. That's probably why it costs them millions now. The outrageous prices they pay, and the ass load of stupid shit they pay for. Like, the years they feed them just to kill them later, the last meal, the unnecessary equipment for killing them, etc.

 Okay, so I'm not including the court costs. How's this for an Idea. Instead of spending more to decide whether or not to kill them, how about not. How about killing ALL the murderers. It would all work out fine if the people running everything weren't stupid.    
~$ Lord Satan
[ Parent ]

Okay (none / 0) (#151)
by Koutetsu on Sun Feb 01, 2004 at 11:00:42 AM EST

Hey, come to think of it, I believe you're a murderer.  Where's my gun?

Oh, what, you want the court to be involved?  But you already have the impression that the first decision is flawless and the punishment needs be swift and irreversible.  Don't go back on your ideals, now, Mr. Murderer.

. . .
"the same thing will happen with every other effort. it will somehow be undermined because the trolls are more clever and more motivated than you
[ Parent ]

No. (none / 0) (#161)
by GuileGrimsin on Sun Feb 01, 2004 at 11:32:17 PM EST

 I do not think the first decision is flawless. I believe that a murderer should be killed. I didn't say everyone accused of murder should be killed. The court system needs to go threw some drastic changes. I didn't go into what needs to be changed about the court system because I was talking about the money aspect. My point was having someone killed for murder should under no circumstances cost more than life imprisonment. The court costs should be exactly the same, the punishment itself should be far less. In fact a good 40% or more of the people in prison are probably innocent.

 I'm talking about what I've seen in the American court system. I don't have a clue how criminals are treated in other first world countries, or how they decide whether or not someone is innocent or guilty.

 The jurors need to be selected differently. An educated juror should be considered a better juror. No one that will be involved in the case should select the jurors. There should be a set of people whose job is solely to select jury members for each case. These people should be given all the facts of the case before selecting so they can decide on an unbiased group of individuals. The defendant and the prosecutor should be treated equally. The public defenders should be held to higher standards, such as a better education. The public defenders job should be to prove their client innocent, they should be on there clients side, not the states side. The prosecutor needs to be asked if he thinks the defendant is guilty. If the prosecutor believes the defendant is innocent, not whether or not he believes he can win, he should not be aloud to take the case. If no prosecutor will take the case within a certain period of time the case should be dropped against that person. But if more evidence comes up later and a prosecutor decides to take the case there should be a trial. Of course if someone is proven innocent though they can't be taken back to court on it, that needs to stay the same.

 Also, many laws need to be discarded, and the rest need to be completely revised. Whether or not someone is insane, in a murder case, should have no relevance. If all these changes are made, yes, the punishment should be swift and irreversible. I think there should be 2 judges making the decision as well, but that may end up just causing more problems.            
~$ Lord Satan
[ Parent ]

Think about it. (none / 0) (#203)
by hbiki on Mon Feb 23, 2004 at 07:28:35 AM EST

My point was having someone killed for murder should under no circumstances cost more than life imprisonment. The court costs should be exactly the same, the punishment itself should be far less Why should they cost the same?

The reason the court costs are so high for capital pubishment cases is because it requires an even greater degree of sureness than do normal life imprisonment cases. There are no opporunities for re-trials based on new evidence. Capital Punishment is applied only in exceptional circumstances whose basis can be also be appealed.

So to make life imprisonment costs the same vis a vis court costs, then you either make those cases themselves far more expensive OR you make the whole death penalty appeal process far more streamlined.

If you do the latter and you end up killing an innocent, what compensation will you make available to the estate of the deceased? How much will you pay out? Anything? If it you pay out a lot, then you need to do a basic cost/benefit equation. Cost of compensation x likelyhood of innocent-death vs. Court Costs for more strigent appeals process. You might then realise that the more expensive court costs actually are more cost effective, unless you decide to give a pittance as compensation (cause you're the state) in which case you'll probably find yourself staring down a political clusterfuck if someone is proven innocent and you hand out $10,000 compensation.

You also need to look at the statistics of the influence of race in the death penalty. The numbers I've seen are old, and I sure hope they've improved, but basically more black men were sentenced to the death penalty than white men for the same crime category, and this wasn't overall, this was per capita... ie you were far more likely to be sentenced to death if you were black than if you were white and you committed murder 1. This kind of stastical "proof" shows the inherent problems with administration of the death penalty.

Now I understand that you might be morally FOR the death penalty, but it matters shit unless you know how you're going to implement it in a Western Common Law tradition, rather than in a Pinochet style dictatorship.

[Incidentally, I find the whole insane defence problematic too. But its one of the consequences of the essentialness of mens rea to criminal law. I won't touch the rest of the criticisms directed at the adversarial system]


---
I take all knowledge to be my province.
- Francis Bacon
biki.net/blog/
[ Parent ]

Murderers? Naw.. Start With The Rapists... (none / 0) (#157)
by Baldrson on Sun Feb 01, 2004 at 08:03:08 PM EST

Make it really simple to get fid of the rapists as follows:

If a penetratee has not issued a currently-valid formal declared s/he will allow a man to have his way with him/her, _any_ verifiable sexual act in which s/he is penetrated by his penis, in any way, makes his continued life solely dependent on his/her lack of accusation for the next -- say -- 3 months. If in these circumstances, s/he accuses the penetrator of rape and 12 jurors determine the penetration did in fact occur, the invariable result is death to the man within 24 hours -- sentence to be carried out by anyone at anytime and in any manner.

Start with the prisoner rapists so as to recover some semblance of government credibility.

-------- Empty the Cities --------


[ Parent ]

Sarcasm? (none / 0) (#164)
by GuileGrimsin on Sun Feb 01, 2004 at 11:52:33 PM EST

 I can't tell.

 The punishment should fit the crime. The rapists should be turned into a woman. Then raped. They could never rape anyone again, not with their dick anyway, but could still be productive members of society. If they rape someone again, kill them. If they rape someone without their dick they just enjoy causing someone pain, and will not stop. Child rapists however, need to be turned into a woman, raped, then killed. After their first offense.

 Why not start by changing the entire system. Instead of working on one crime at a time, starting with rapists.
~$ Lord Satan
[ Parent ]

Now _you're_ talking Revenge... (none / 0) (#171)
by Baldrson on Mon Feb 02, 2004 at 01:29:25 AM EST

I don't think mutilating or raping anyone is a way to turn them into a "productive member of society." More likely you'll turn them into monsters that will prey on others out of their own sense of revenge. One thing is for sure: You'll cultivate the worst sorts of sadistic culture within the penal system -- just as the present government is doing now.

-------- Empty the Cities --------


[ Parent ]

Revenge (none / 0) (#172)
by GuileGrimsin on Mon Feb 02, 2004 at 03:15:04 AM EST

 I don't think revenge is a bad thing. Once someone commits a crime like rape or murder I no longer consider them on the same level as other humans, or animals for that matter. They are worthless, why not give the victims and society pleasure by punishing them. Why not give them what they deserve. Use them as an example to everyone else who considers raping someone. Rapist don't have much to worry about now, there's a good chance the'll get away with it and if not they're likely to get very little punishment. I guarantee rape would go down if dicks started getting chopped off.

 It's true that chopping off their cocks may turn them into "monsters." They might be to afraid to rape anyone ever again though. I believe there is a good chance of them becoming productive members of society. If 60+% of the rapists get more violent, or don't change, then we should start killing all of them. I don't think for a second we should castrate them then immediately release them into society. They would need to be put into a mental institution for a certain period of time to try and make them "better" and to decide whether or not they will ever be "better." The ones who could not be "fixed" would need to be killed.

 Why not just kill them all? Well, if there is good reason to believe that they wont commit rape again it would be wrong to kill them. Or as wrong as it would be for me to kill someone for looking at me wrong. Plus there's no reason to throw away someone who could still benefit the rest of society.

 I'm saying kill a lot. So I'm just going to let you know that I believe making them into slaves would be just as good of punishment as killing them. Giving their life to someone else is how I see it. It would be best to give the victims the opportunity to be their owner, if they want to be that is. Unless they are still a high risk even as slaves, then death would be best.

 Kill them or enslave them. The less dangerous murderers, child rapists, and the rapists who can't be resocialized should be made slaves. Then we could see how it works out. If it proves to be good for society and of minimal danger, continue making them slaves. If it results in a lot of escapes, and/or deaths we should kill them all. If the murderers are the only problem then start killing all the murderers and keep making rapists slaves.

 We need to leave ourselves room for improvement and change. We can't expect to get it exactly right the first day.    
~$ Lord Satan
[ Parent ]

Just too disgusting. (none / 0) (#176)
by Baldrson on Mon Feb 02, 2004 at 12:30:18 PM EST

There is a reason self-determination is the primordial human right, and that is what we are observing in this exchange between you and I. I just don't think slavery is a good institution no matter how you justify it. It corrupts slave owners just as it degrades the human condition generally. Republicans and their pseudo-liberal "open boarders" policies are a good example of the corrupting influence of the slaver's mentality.

Technology enslaves the laws of nature in service of humans and is the right way to go. Create your slaves.

Indeed, the only crimes I can imagine justifying imprisonment as opposed to banishment (forced secession) are those that I would pretty much see justifying capital punishment: Rape (as liberally defined previously), murder, child molestation (ie: a child's "formal consent" is not at issue in child molestation), secret restraint (enslaving people without making such publically known), cowardice (for example, not providing service in time of conflict and not answering a challenge to fair contest such as single combat) and physical mutilation. Just get rid of the prison system -- it is a form of slavery. If you aren't going to kill someone for their "crime" then just let them take their value system somewhere else.

PS: Not that it is nearly as problematic as the handling of criminals, but if I'd been Lincoln, I'd have admitted the right of the South to secede on condition that the slaves could secede. The resources invested in the War Between the States should instead have been invested in the resettlement of slaves or their descendants in their ancestral homelands. "20 Acres and a Mule" in Africa (or Scotland/Ireland for those whose ancestors had been forced to come to the New World from there). Yes this may have resulted in a war with Britain. The Disraeli Gears ended up screwing around in India, China and big parts of Africa anyway -- resulting in the present day inundating of the British Isles with those peoples, so it would have been a mercy killing to destroy the Victorian era's attempt to avoid fully industrializing the British Isles. The Amerindians are another matter and applying this system of secession to them would mean no "Bureau of Indian Affairs" but completely sovereign nations. Generally the way resettlement should be handled is through just compensation for loss of properties via Eminent Domain proceedings -- but former slaves deserve more assistance due to their situation.

-------- Empty the Cities --------


[ Parent ]

Government by lawyer is what's expensive. -nt (none / 0) (#156)
by Baldrson on Sun Feb 01, 2004 at 07:48:23 PM EST


-------- Empty the Cities --------


[ Parent ]

Flawed comparisons (none / 0) (#158)
by drsmithy on Sun Feb 01, 2004 at 08:07:51 PM EST

Simple logic tells us that comparisons showing these results cannot be fair. It *cannot* be cheaper to keep someone alive for the rest of their lives vs killing them, if all else is being kept equal.

The biggest flaw in these comparisons, of course, is that someone facing execution has a much greater volume of legal resources expended on them. They shouldn't. Both life imprisonment and execution are, effectively, sentences that end up costing the prisoner their life, and the legal diligence applied to both scenarios should represent that and be equal.

In other words, the fact it costs more to execute someone is an indictment on the legal sstem, not a valid criticism of the death penalty per se.

Personally, on one hand I don't think the death penalty is inherently bad because I believe some criminals simply cannot be rehabilited and safely released back into society. As such they are nothing more than a drain on society and should not be supported - at all - by society's resources. On the other hand, I think current processes are too imperfect to risk an innocent person being sentenced to such a fate. So I cannot support the death penalty in practice, merely in principle.

[ Parent ]

Why are capital cases more expensive? (none / 0) (#163)
by Shajenko on Sun Feb 01, 2004 at 11:41:22 PM EST

Here's the reason that a capital case is more expensive, and the defendant has more legal resources. The death penalty cannot be undone. If you kill a prisoner, and later you find out that he was actually innocent, then you've basically murdered an innocent man. If he gets life in prison, and is later found to be innocent, you can release him and give him back at least part of his life.

This is why we expend more resources in capital cases. We want to make sure we aren't making a mistake (though statistics on the number of death row prisoners who are exonerated suggest that we are failing at that).

[ Parent ]
One thing to consider (none / 0) (#177)
by Eccles on Mon Feb 02, 2004 at 05:54:54 PM EST

The death penalty seems to be used frequently as a tool to encourage plea-bargains.  A suspect may be convinced to plead guilty on the condition that the prosecution won't seek the death penalty.  Thus the whole expense of a trial is avoided.  As such, it's hard to evaluate the actual financial impact of not having the death penalty.


[ Parent ]
It'd be a pretty awful form of punishment... (none / 1) (#179)
by skyknight on Mon Feb 02, 2004 at 08:59:34 PM EST

even if you were gay. Rape is rape.



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
eh? (none / 0) (#186)
by fenix down on Tue Feb 03, 2004 at 10:08:43 PM EST

Now the real issue is prisoner rape. It is actually far more widespread than the death penalty...

What's the difference?

[ Parent ]

Criminals (none / 1) (#144)
by GuileGrimsin on Sun Feb 01, 2004 at 07:08:48 AM EST

 My belief is that people should be able to do whatever they want as long as they aren't harming someone else. Within reason. If you throw up your middle finger and someone has a nervous breakdown that's not within reason.

 If you harm someone else I believe the punishment should fit the crime. In other words, the person should get a taste of their own medicine. Or be made completely unable to ever commit the crime again. Possibly both. If you kill someone you should be killed. If you rape someone your dick should be sliced and folded into a vagina then raped in it. I'm against locking people in a cell. It serves no purpose and is a complete waste of resources. If anything a murderer should be forced to dedicate their life to others. Be made a slave. After receiving their punishment, if still able to commit the crime a great amount of effort should be put into rehabilitating the person. Changing their way of thinking about the crime, pills, brainwashing, or whatever method would work best for their situation. For those that cannot be rehabilitated, and will repeat the crime, slavery or death is the best thing for them. For society.

 In Saddam's case, a man who tortured many. he should be tortured for many years. To set an example to anyone else who decides they want to act like him. To show people that they may end up getting what they dish out. Why not satisfy all the survivors (of his torture) hunger for revenge? His life is no longer important.

 For stupid people, most people, it's hard to decide whether or not a reasonable amount of harm is being done to a person under 18 if someone older has sex with them. For me it's simple. If the "child" choses to have sex, and is not manipulated into it, there is no harm. No more harm than an adult would experience. A guy putting honey on his cock and telling an ignorant child it's candy is manipulation. The child would be damaged mentally, at least there is a very good chance of it. This should be a crime. A curios/horny 14 year old telling her BF he can fuck her, she's ready, makes her ready. If she is mentally damaged, that's her own fault, people need to be held accountable for their actions. That applies to children as well.

 Most laws are moronic and should not be in place, or are seriously flawed. If not, the punishments for breaking them are foolish. Many laws are all of the above. It's never going to change but I'm still hoping.

 To me, punishment should serve the purpose of preventing the person from committing the crime again. Preventing others from doing the crime again, pleasing the victims of the crime, and possibly getting some use out of the criminal. The court system of today miserably fails to do any of this.      
~$ Lord Satan

Hmmm... (none / 0) (#162)
by Pseudonym on Sun Feb 01, 2004 at 11:38:34 PM EST

If you harm someone else I believe the punishment should fit the crime. In other words, the person should get a taste of their own medicine.

So what should happen to those who commit perjury? Should we lie about them in court?


sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
[ Parent ]
Good one. (none / 0) (#166)
by GuileGrimsin on Sun Feb 01, 2004 at 11:57:11 PM EST

 How about nailing them to a cross? (Joking)

 The answer is simple, cut out their tongue.
~$ Lord Satan
[ Parent ]

tough situations versus tough punishments (none / 0) (#153)
by rvcx on Sun Feb 01, 2004 at 04:16:30 PM EST

It's very trendy these days to use the difficulty of the situation as a defense. "My family was starving, so I had to rob the bank and shoot that bank manager..."; "I've got psychological problems that make me really really want to rape women..."

On a personal and societal level, it is perfectly right to pity such circumstances and to try to see what we as a society can do to try not to place people in such situations. But this does not lead to the conclusion that such criminals should be any less harshly punished. In fact, it is clear that more punishment is appropriate.

As the article points out, one of the primary goals of punishment is to serve as an example to others who might commit the same crime. Robbing a bank is tempting for everyone; if there were no penalty for it many more people would try. The fact that there is a severe punishment makes the decision whether or not to rob the bank much easier. We don't do it because we know the consequences. A very harsh punishment may not be necessary to deter people; putting someone in jail for 50 years for stealing a toothbrush is simply a waste if a 5 year prison sentence would deter just as many people. (Fairness and compassion for the criminal will also be balanced against deterence to determine the actual penalty.)

Now what about those people who are more inclined than the general population to rob the bank? The equation looks a little different for them: exactly the right amount of deterrent the make the decision easy for "normal" people is just not enough in their case. Those who are more tempted to rob banks or rape need to be threatened with harsher punishment in order to make their crimes less tempting to others in other situations.

Of course, US ideals dictate that we are extremely careful in the way in which we determine punishments: setting the bar higher for the poor or the mentally ill flies in the face of the principle of equality among people. I don't necessarily advocate harsher sentences for particular groups, but the absolute worst solution is easier sentences for those more likely to commit criminal offenses. Such an approach is fundamentally illogical.

Re: tough situations versus tough punishments (none / 0) (#154)
by NeantHumain on Sun Feb 01, 2004 at 06:32:38 PM EST

I think assigning harsher punishments for those with a predisposition to commit criminally antisocial behavior is the exact wrong thing to do. I really think psychological help is better than more punishment. Some people's minds simply don't function in a way that is compatible with living freely in society. It would be better to fix that then to punish it into the background.

I hate my sig.


[ Parent ]
If only. (none / 0) (#169)
by esrever on Mon Feb 02, 2004 at 12:58:46 AM EST

Your response presupposes that it is possible to make people 'realise they did the "wrong" thing'.  I say that this supposition is false.

"""
Some people's minds simply don't function in a way that is compatible with living freely in society
"""

Absolutely correct.  And therefore the only rational thing to do is remove them from that society for the protection of all of the other members of that society.  If you can somehow 'rehabilitate' that individual, then great, return them to society, but that should be the secondary concern, behind protecting all other members of that society from this person.


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[ Parent ]

You missed the most important consideration of all (none / 0) (#170)
by esrever on Mon Feb 02, 2004 at 01:19:09 AM EST

Being the protection of society as a whole from the further actions of an individual who for whatever reason makes a choice not to live within the bounds imposed by all the other members of that society.  Now, I won't get into a discussion about whether those bounds are 'right', or 'wrong' (how such standards come to be is a discussion big enough for many years of debate...), but basically, as a society, we make a choice to live in such a way that we impose these standards upon ourselves.  

If someone decides that they don't agree with these standards and make a choice to break them, then logically all other members of that society require protecting from this individual.  This is the primary purpose of incarceration, a fact that is increasingly lost in many debates on the appropriateness of our criminal 'justice' system.  Now, with this foremost in our minds, let's examine your example:

"""
...Let us look at the recent case of an eighteen year old boy who was sentenced to fifteen years in jail for sleeping with a girl three years younger than him, but with her consent. Even though laws are in place against such behaviour...
"""

Why do we as a society have laws against sex with people under a certain age?  There are two primary reasons;

  1.  To protect people who cannot be expected to see the consequences of various actions from exploitation by someone that can (this is the same reason that we have the concept of 'trying someone as an adult').  Think 10-16+ year olds.
  2.  To protect people who are physically unable to  otherwise protect themselves from exploitation by someone more physically able.  Think 0-10+ year olds.
Now in light of this understanding, how does our 18 year old having sex with a 15 year old stack up?  Well, societally speaking, we have a situation where someone less physically able to protect themselves (although not apparently a factor in this equation) and also less mentally prepared for all the real potential consequences of their actions had sex with someone much more physically able and much more (although within limits) able to comprehend the potential for harm from his actions.  If this is not a crime, then where exactly do we draw the line?  As a society, is it OK for us to say this is fine and then wear the real cost of single-parent families to the rest of society?  If it's OK for an 18 year old to have sex with a 15 if they say 'Yes', then by definition is it OK for that same 18 year old to have sex with an 8 year old if they say 'Yes'?  Clearly not, and the younger we get the more obvious the line becomes; how about our 18 year old and a 2 year old who has just learned to say 'Yes'?  

You may say that the 8yo and 2yo examples are ridiculous, yet it is exactly what makes them ridiculous that highlights the need for this sort of law, and regardless of whether it necessarily fits in all situations, it is the law, laid down by us as a society to describe what sorts of risks we will accept, and what sort of behaviour we believe has the real potential to cause harm.  If he didn't like that law and thought it was OK to ignore it, then what other laws may he think it is OK to ignore?  How about if the next 15yo he has sex with becomes pregnant and he dodges his child support payments?  How many countless 1000's of men does this describe?  Do we as a society want to wear the cost of this risk?  Clearly the answer is NO, because that is what our laws reflect, and those are the laws that he ignored.

He deserves everything he gets because it will protect society from him.

End of story.


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OK, here goes (none / 1) (#191)
by tetsuwan on Thu Feb 05, 2004 at 09:55:13 AM EST

Firstly:
  1. This act wouldn't be illegal at all in some countries.
  2. The punishment is WAY to harsh.
  3. You are trivializing consent.
Compare the act in question with a 40 y/o man having sex with a 18 y/o woman. This is not illegal in most countries. The basic problems, however, are very similar. The man is physically stronger. This is not an issue if there is no doubt about the consent. Clearly, this it isn't a problem in the case of the 18 y/o boy with the 15 y/o girl, unless the girl thought that bad things would happen to her if she did not consent.

The main issue is the difference in experience and maturity. If you are more experienced, you may be able to manipulate your partner and take advantage of him or her. It is a question of power, too.
Maturity can in this case be divided into physical maturity and maturity of the sexual consciousness. Physical maturity is the most important part along with consent. Sexual maturity (in mind) is also a main issue if one part doesn't now what is going on.

Thus, order of priorities in assesing the gravity of the crime should be:

  • Were both persons pass puberty?
  • Was the act consentual?
  • Was one part manipulated into consent?
  • Was there a significant difference in sexual maturity?
  • What was the power relation between the persons?
Considering this, is 15 years appropriate? I think not.

Njal's Saga: Just like Romeo & Juliet without the romance
[ Parent ]

Correction (none / 0) (#192)
by tetsuwan on Thu Feb 05, 2004 at 10:22:24 AM EST

Hmm, I should add that I do not know the specifics of the case discussed in the article or threads below.

Njal's Saga: Just like Romeo & Juliet without the romance
[ Parent ]

Good, a rational response (none / 0) (#193)
by esrever on Fri Feb 06, 2004 at 05:58:25 AM EST

However, you have some huuuuuuuge holes in what you appear to perceive of this situation:
  1. He broke the law.  It doesn't matter if this was a 'good' or 'bad' law (like I said, I won't go into that mess) but nevertheless it was the law, and he broke it.
  2. Maybe the punishment is too harsh.  I don't have much of an opinion one way or the other, except to note that it wasn't a surprise; the judge didn't just make this sentence up, it was attached to the same law the guy broke as being a serious possible consequence of his action.  He chose to ignore it.
  3. No, I didn't trivialise consent, the author of this story did.  And here's why:
"""
Furthermore, a mental rape of the girl in question occurred, and the criminal was the court
"""

Aside from what an irresponsible statement this is, let's examine it for rationality in the context of the girl giving informed consent.  For her consent to have been informed:

  1. She would have to understand the real possible negative outcomes of what she was consenting to.
  2. She would have to understand that one of those outcomes would be that because the person she was having sex with was violating the law, there was a real chance that he would be prosecuted, and she a material witness to such.  This means that she would have had to understand beforehand that there was a chance that she would end up in court in the future as a witness and then make a conscious decision to accept that risk and have sex.
In other words, either:
  1. She understood the consequences of her actions and therefore wasn't 'raped' by the court.
  2. She didn't understand the consequences of her actions, and perhaps did experience mental trauma, but in that case that is the fault of the criminal who put her in that situation, not the court.  
In either case, he is guilty.

Game over.

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[ Parent ]

A late reply (none / 0) (#199)
by tetsuwan on Tue Feb 17, 2004 at 07:13:21 PM EST

Is he guilty? Yes, obvioulsy in the wording of the law. In the spirit of the law? Perhaps, depending on the society that had it written down.

Now, I want to present an alternative situation: a 21 yo (A) giving alcohol to a 19 yo (B). Again, consent is essential to the argument. (I) A giving a glas of gin, B freely drinking it. Or: (II) A tricking or forcing B to drink a glas of gin. Vast difference, isn't it?

Now if case (I) should give 15 years imprisonment - what about (II)? Capital punishment, perhaps.

Your argument about informed consent remains the same. If you think gin is as harmless as soda (sex as harmless as kissing) you are not really informed, etc.


Njal's Saga: Just like Romeo & Juliet without the romance
[ Parent ]

A very thoughtful reply indeed (none / 0) (#200)
by esrever on Wed Feb 18, 2004 at 07:36:52 PM EST

The situation you pose is awkward, but has been considered.  Basically, if the woman is drunk (legally intoxicated) then by legal definition she is incapable of informed consent; whether she got drunk through ignorance, desire, or trick.  So, this situation has already been anticipated by the law.  Interestingly, a man in the same situation (legally intoxicated) is still legally capable of informed consent and therefore under the law two legally intoxicated adults (male + female) having sex together is rape (of woman by man).  Now, whether this is a just situation or not is a conundrum I don't consider myself wise enough to untangle, but that's the law.  :-)

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[ Parent ]
Is that true in all of the US? (none / 0) (#201)
by tetsuwan on Thu Feb 19, 2004 at 07:16:28 AM EST

I quite sure it isn't like that in Sweden. Swedish courts, though, have a worrisome tendency to discuss in depth the sexual habits of the assaulted woman.

What is the legal definition of drunk in this case? If it can be intepreted so that a woman that has had one or two drinks isn't capable of informed consent, there's certainly a lot of raping going on after the bars close on saturdays.

Njal's Saga: Just like Romeo & Juliet without the romance
[ Parent ]

Basically, yep. (none / 0) (#202)
by esrever on Thu Feb 19, 2004 at 03:46:07 PM EST

What you have described is pretty much the situation.  I think legally drunk is 'over the legal limit to drive' but I'll bet in a courtroom that if it came down to it a judge would accept witnesses who would testify that she had been drinking as evidence that she was probably incapable of legal consent.  So yep, legalistically speaking, there probably is a lot of rape taking place.

Scary, eh?

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[ Parent ]

this is a limited view of the situation... (none / 0) (#196)
by aetheroar on Sat Feb 07, 2004 at 07:34:14 PM EST

While it is important to prosecute criminals, we have a court and jury system to deal with the fuzzy cases like this. Whether he broke the law is not under debate. Whether he deserves the punishment he got is entirely less clear. It's an abuse of the justice system when a judge or lawyer says something along the lines of "Whether or not you believe this person deserves punishment, you must mete it out in accordance with the law." If we wanted such a limited black-and-white system of justice, we'd have summary judgements on the spot rather than spend all this money building courthouses and having a system of appeals and such. Yes, it's fuzzy. A 40 year old sleeping with a 15 year old is a pretty easy case to judge. An 18 year old, however, is not so different from a 15 year old in terms of sexual or physical maturity, and I'd hate to be the one to send someone up the river for that.

[ Parent ]
An argument for punishment as revenge (none / 1) (#181)
by frankwork on Mon Feb 02, 2004 at 09:33:32 PM EST

First off, the reason a thirst for revenge evolved in humans is that by exacting revenge (especially if it's disproportionate), one gains a reputation for not taking anybody's shit. In a civilized society we can't have people directly taking revenge on each other to prop up their reputation as a tough guy, since the violence would quickly escalate to unmanageable proportions. But the desire for revenge does exist for a reason, and is not pathological per se.

On the flip side, one doesn't need to have any kind of mental disorder to want to, say, rob a bank. If, adjusting for the odds of success, one has something to gain by robbing a bank (or nothing to lose), it's perfectly rational to go ahead and do it. So consequences need to be put in place that provide a strong disincentive for breaking the rules. Free psychotherapy isn't really a strong disincentive. Admittedly, most people play by the rules most of the time; measures to "keep honest people honest" clearly work in most cases. But one can't assume that all people are "honest" (i.e. have a conscience), or that normally honest people won't have a lapse of their scruples if the incentive to cheat is large enough.

The one situation I can come up with that doesn't entirely fit in the above situation are non-premeditated crimes. Humans (and many animals) have a normal built-in "doomsday device" brought on by extreme anger where they literally aren't in control of their actions. This is useful, evoltionarily speaking, because they can gain a reputation for having a short fuse, and hence as someone that shouldn't be messed with. But as with a thirst for revenge, this isn't entirely compatible with civilized society. About the only player that one could argue should have a reputation for a short fuse is the justice system (along the lines of "zero tolerance" and mandatory sentencing), but I personally find that questionable.

The trouble with making an exception for crimes of passion is that it's quite likely that the "temporary insanity" defense will be abused. There also needs to be an incentive for people to manage anger and other emotions in a non-destructive way. In my opinion, the occasional truly-remorseful person who is punished "needlessly" for a crime of passion is a necessary price to for society to pay to deter similar premeditated crime.

Finally, I want to expand on the idea of "having nothing to lose." If we structure society so that some significant part of the population isn't much worse off (materially) in prison than in daily life, prison has no deterrent effect, and we virtually guarantee all sorts of criminal acts. This, in my opinion, is a strong argument for social welfare programs that provide a decent standard of living for people that would otherwise "have nothing to lose." That way they (and society) wouldn't have to go through the trouble of first committing a crime in order to receive free room, board, and health care.

some corrections (none / 0) (#195)
by wakim1618 on Fri Feb 06, 2004 at 04:29:49 PM EST

Killing a former president will not change world politics in any way.

You don't think that some dictators are intelligent enough to say, "If I am told to leave by the US, I get to keep most of my money if I comply or I can talk trash like Saddam and end up broken and humiliated like him." There is a point to punishment. Maybe you define "change" in a funny way that you may wish to make explicit.

However, Saddam poses a sort of danger to society, since he still has a lot of money, and money commands support. So it would be proper to place him in a jail.

So he lives from jail while he commands his minions to wreck havok in Iraq. No, killing Saddam and watching his minions kill each other over his money will (1) divert them from pestering the US forces and (2) all the noise from the infighting will make them easier to identify.

The death penalty in America is implemented as a form of revenge. You might think right now that it would act as a deterrent to other would-be criminals, but the very act of constructing a death penalty in America involves the manipulation of people to make them want revenge on a person.

The death penalty IS a deterrent. It is not 100 percent but only fools expect it to be. For example, if I had a 10 percent of being killed instantly if I smoked a cigarette, I would quit and so would most people. The death penalty is reserved for extraordinary crimes in America and you generally have to be quite an ASS to get it.

How can the accused be helped, so that he is not placed in a situation where he has to perform such an act?

In America, repeal the drug laws and a significant number of the prison population would not be there. More generally, people make choices. Some people make bad ones. Money and attention can't do much to change that - ask any parent.


If I wanted dumb people to love me, I'd start a cult.

Resocialize or take revenge on criminals? | 203 comments (183 topical, 20 editorial, 3 hidden)
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