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[P]
Judicial goblins

By aphrael in Op-Ed
Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 10:23:39 AM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

I do not support the death penalty; it is a barbaric practice better left to a more barbaric age, and the fact that the US persists in practicing it both dishonors us and betrays us as unwilling to face our better instincts as a people.

That said, the Supreme Court's logic is troubling, and the way they are measuring "evolving standards of decency" is perplexing. 30 states have banned the execution of juveniles. But 12 of those don't allow the death penalty at all. So, really, 18 of the 38 states which do allow execution did not allow the execution of juveniles before today.


These numbers constitute "evidence of a national consensus against the death penalty for juveniles?" Alas, I wish the consensus were there; but it isn't. Indeed, the political trends of recent years have been towards making it easier to treat late adolescents as adults in criminal proceedings.

It is certainly a reasonable position that juveniles are "categorically less culpable than the average criminal". It is also a reasonable position that execution is cruel and unusual and is not allowed by the Constitution. But it's an absurd proposition that the fact that 18 out of the 38 states which allow executions do not allow execution of juveniles somehow demonstrates a national consensus supporting that proposition.

To the extent that today's decision by the Supreme Court - holding that such executions are barred by the eighth amendment - relies on that proposition, it is a travesty. If they wanted to overturn their decision in Stanford v. Kentucky, they should have done so; but inventing a bizarre and arbitrary form of numeracy in order to create a fake sense of consistency, thereby to pretend that they aren't throwing precedent out the window, is intellectually dishonest and, therefore, disgraceful.

"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds", Mr. Emerson said. This decision would make him weep.

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Judicial goblins | 322 comments (274 topical, 48 editorial, 0 hidden)
I don't really follow you (2.50 / 2) (#3)
by nkyad on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 09:51:46 PM EST

Why do you subtract the 12 states where death penalty is banned from the argument? Zero, besides being less than one, is also less than two. I mean, you really have 30 states where the execution of juveniles is banned. You don't have any reason to consider only those states where executions are allowed in some form when trying to infer some "national consensus", you must consider them all.

And this article probably belong to your diary.

Don't believe in anything you can't see, smell, touch or at the very least infer from a good particle accelerator run


because it's not relevant. (none / 0) (#4)
by aphrael on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 09:59:26 PM EST

12 of 50 states say "the death penalty is always wrong". 18 of 38 states say "these people should be treated differently than those people for death penalty purposes." The opinion of the first 12 that the death penalty is wrong doesn't in any way make a statement regarding whether or not group [x] should be treated differently than group [y].

[ Parent ]
Nevertheless they must be taken into account (none / 0) (#7)
by nkyad on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 10:15:52 PM EST

If you know I am against death penalty for anyone in anyway no matter the crime, you can surely infer that I will abhor the execution of children/teenagers even more. Hence, "evolving standards of decency". On reverse, if all 38 states where where death penalty exists cheerfully applauded the execution of 10 year olds, then the Court wouldn't be able to say there was a national trend against such punishment.

Don't believe in anything you can't see, smell, touch or at the very least infer from a good particle accelerator run


[ Parent ]
ahh. (none / 1) (#8)
by aphrael on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 10:17:56 PM EST

but if the question is "is executing children cruel and unusual because they are children", than it's unreasonable to interpret a statement that executing anyone is cruel and unusual as support.

[ Parent ]
Strange logic (none / 1) (#11)
by nkyad on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 10:43:42 PM EST

I would think the statement "executing any human being is cruel and unusual because they are human beings" includes "executing children cruel and unusual because they are children".

On the other hand, I think I agree to your hidden argument, for some reason or another, this is a very political Supreme Court and this is a political decision. I don't doubt the European ban on death penalty and the fact that it was getting more and more annoying to see the United States in the list of countries where children and teenagers are executed had some (or much) influence in the majority opinion.

Don't believe in anything you can't see, smell, touch or at the very least infer from a good particle accelerator run


[ Parent ]
Political decision (none / 0) (#127)
by shinshin on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 11:46:08 PM EST

On the other hand, I think I agree to your hidden argument, for some reason or another, this is a very political Supreme Court and this is a political decision.

The really bizarre thing, though, is that the exact same Supreme Court spent most of the 90's doing its best to make it easier to execute children. I honestly don't understand why, when all of a sudden there is a violent and dramatic upsurge of conservative ideology in America to the point where all branches of government are completely dominated by conservatives, why the court would think that there is any "evidence of a national consensus against the death penalty for juveniles".

____
We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
[ Parent ]

Not quite (none / 0) (#196)
by duffbeer703 on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 03:53:32 PM EST

12 of the 50 states do not say that "the death penalty is always wrong".

Those states have laws that state that the punishment for 1st Degree or Capital murder is life in prison without parole. (or something to that effect)

There's a difference between the absence of punishment and the condemnation of it.

[ Parent ]

The Death Penalty is a Civilized Answer.. (1.12 / 8) (#6)
by thelizman on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 10:13:16 PM EST

...to barbarous acts. If we were killing jaywalkers and tax evaders, that would be one thing, but the death penalty is reserved for those individual for whom there is no reasonable hope of their return to society due to the wanton and flagrant disrespect for the sanctity of human life.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
That's great. (3.00 / 7) (#22)
by pwhysall on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 04:13:26 AM EST

What if the system kills the wrong man?

Whoops.

Gotta break a few eggs, right?

That argument's fine and dandy until one of those eggs is YOU.
--
Peter
K5 Editors
I'm going to wager that the story keeps getting dumped because it is a steaming pile of badly formatted fool-meme.
CheeseBurgerBrown
[ Parent ]

IN SOVIET RUSSIA (1.66 / 3) (#26)
by no funny stuff on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 08:12:11 AM EST

Eggs gotta break YOU!

[ Parent ]
Attack of the What If's (none / 1) (#86)
by thelizman on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 07:27:55 PM EST

What if monkeys fly out of your ass. Go look up 'logical fallacies' and 'straw-man', then come back and we'll talk.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Not a logical fallacy here. (none / 1) (#89)
by aphrael on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 08:00:23 PM EST

It regularly happens that people are found to be innocent - usually by DNA evidence - years after they are convicted. Many of these cases appear to have been the result of deliberate framing and/or police who just wanted to find someone, not necessarily the right person, to blame for the crime.

This is not the cause of my opposition to the death penalty, but it is a serious issue: given the parlous state of our prosecutorial system, do you really trust the state not to execute innocents inadvertently?

[ Parent ]

More like "rarely" (none / 0) (#116)
by thelizman on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 10:30:09 PM EST

It regularly happens
More like it 'rarely' happens, being 1% of all cases. And as you well pointed out, that these individuals wound up on death row is not a matter of the death penalty itself, but a matter of the flawed legal system which put them there.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Cool! (none / 0) (#157)
by pwhysall on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 07:30:49 AM EST

Am I to understand that you won't object to being executed if the State says "You're guilty" and your lawyer just isn't good enough to get you off?

"Flip the switch! I'm in favour of the death penalty!" <-- I strongly suspect these wouldn't be your last words.

After all, it rarely happens.

A life sentence for an innocent man is a mistake, but it's a mistake that can to some degree be undone - and that is civilised.
--
Peter
K5 Editors
I'm going to wager that the story keeps getting dumped because it is a steaming pile of badly formatted fool-meme.
CheeseBurgerBrown
[ Parent ]

Sure (none / 0) (#175)
by thelizman on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 12:03:36 PM EST

...if I was guilty of committing aggravated first degree murder, I'd pull the switch on myself. If I was innocent, I'd use the obnoxiously long and drawn out appeals process to exonerate myself.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
haha (none / 0) (#234)
by thankyougustad on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 07:49:37 PM EST

...if I was guilty of committing aggravated first degree murder, I'd pull the switch on myself.
I can see your obit now : A paragon of virtue. . . he almost always did the right thing.

No no thanks no
Je n'aime que le bourbon
no no thanks no
c'est une affaire de goût.

[ Parent ]
Shit happens... (none / 1) (#243)
by thelizman on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 09:28:28 PM EST

"...honest your honor...he tripped and fell on the knife 42 times...I tried to stop him, but damn...there's no stopping that fat ass."
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
I've said it before: that's not a good reason (none / 1) (#131)
by SocratesGhost on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 12:14:13 AM EST

I know that many people attack the death penalty argument on the basis of procedure, but that's not an indictment of the punishment. It's basically saying that we're not good enough yet to use it. Presumably, if we could develop a flawless system, the death penalty would be acceptable, right?

As a result, you may get someone to reluctantly agree that the death penalty isn't foolproof, but that doesn't really convince anyone that it's wrong... just prematurely applied.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
That's a great reason. (none / 0) (#140)
by Polverone on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 01:51:16 AM EST

I'm convinced that the death penalty is a bad idea because it can be applied to the wrong people. I'm not happy with the death penalty being applied to the right people 90%, 99%, or 99.999% of the time. I'm not satisfied with anything less than 100%. Given that I cannot imagine a legal system that has a 0% false conviction rate, I imagine that I will be opposed to the death penalty as long as I live.

Is this really a problem? Do you worry that an infallible Oracle of Justice will pop up in a few years and convince people like me that the death penalty is okay? Or do you worry that I will eventually think that executing the innocent is acceptable as long as it's infrequent?
--
It's not a just, good idea; it's the law.
[ Parent ]

stay consistent then (none / 1) (#179)
by SocratesGhost on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 12:30:43 PM EST

Don't drive a car because there is a statistical chance of causing death to an innocent person. Yearly, more people die in auto accidents than receive the death penalty (let alone the wrongly accused). Don't work in or support industry. Don't use pharmaceuticals. Don't exercise. Don't eat. People get killed by vending machines, guess we have to get rid of them until we can make them 100% safe. It might amaze you to know that cigarettes are still legal.

But, just like those things, if you want to support the death penalty, you have to recognize that there is a trade off between applying it correctly and applying it against someone who will die inappropriately from its legitimate use. The question then becomes--for supporters--what degree they are willing to accept.

Like I said, it's not a rebuttal of capital punishment. The best it can do is put a constraint on its use. If you really wanted to convince me, explain why Charles Manson and al-Zarqawi don't deserve the needle.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
Consistency... (none / 1) (#181)
by cr8dle2grave on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 01:31:16 PM EST

I understand the thrust of your argument, but you're demand for consistency is misplaced here. The question isn't about death per se, but the appropriate limits to state authority.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
not sure about that (none / 0) (#193)
by SocratesGhost on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 03:32:25 PM EST

Presumably, the state anymore is a codified expression of society. When the law unjustly puts someone to death, that is as much of an accident as when we tacitly permit vehicular deaths. I'd suggest that by permitting capital punishment, we'd similarly tacitly permit wrongful deaths.

Look at it from the perspective of any social project, in this case we are acting out a social desire for vengeance (assuming that the deterrent or cost arguments fail as reasons for capital punishment-which they do). In obtaining this vengeance, we incur a certain number of unintended deaths. How is this different than asking the government to lay down highways to improve commerce?

As you can see, I'm also not talking about death, per se, either but how many accidental deaths we tolerate just going about the business of daily life and also in how many ways we use the government to help us create those accidents.

But to get more to the point of what I think you're saying, I think you're on a better track. Instead of saying "the government cannot engage in the activity because it might result in a handful of accidental deaths" you're saying that there should be restrictions on government use of capital punishment even on those who are guilty. To me, that sounds much more interesting.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
Personally... (3.00 / 2) (#198)
by cr8dle2grave on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 04:30:15 PM EST

...I've been swayed to the view that the death penalty is an innapropriate remedy under any circumstance, but I'm not particularly passionate about that conviction. On the other hand, I have intensely passionate feelings about the inappropriateness of using the death penalty in light of systemic failures which plauge our criminal justice system.

The equivalence you're drawing, one which portrays all "unintended" deaths as effectively identical for purposes of moral calculus, ignores the underlying basis on which the state is authorized act to enforce social order. Unjustly depriving an individual of his fundamental liberties, not to mention his very life, represents an inexcusable violation of the "social contract," which is what legitmates the use of the state's coercive power in the first place. On the other hand, building highways, which invariably results in accidental deaths, can hardly be portrayed as a violation of the basic social contract under which we live.

I can give a fuller explanation of my position if you'd like, but the short version is that I, in keeping with the underlying political philosophy on which this country was founded, consider the state itself to represent a far more grave threat to my fundamental liberties than my neighbor ever could.

When one man kills another unjustly, it's criminal. When the state unjustly kills one of it's citizens, it's tyranny. I'd far prefer to live in fear of criminals than tyrants.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
Not necessary (none / 1) (#225)
by SocratesGhost on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 07:09:26 PM EST

I know where you're coming from philosophically. I'm just not convinced that we are or even want to be so distrustful of our own government. Seriously, when was the last time we watered the tree of freedom with the blood of patriots? I think it's very easy to be persuaded by such ideals but when it comes down to it we think poorly of those who do defend their own liberties in that way, such as David Koresh or the Republic of Texas. While we may criticize the government's overzealousness in putting these groups down, we seldom object to the government's right--even responsibility--to do so. Meanwhile, the citizenry slowly disarms, begrudgingly but they do. Where once plantations kept operational cannonry, there is little dispute that this is unnecessary and is widely illegal. Now, it's bullets per second that is limited. Who knows, someday we may adopt a British intolerance of guns. I give it less than 75 years.

This isn't necessarily a bad thing. It shows that in spite of our cynicism, overall we increasingly trust out government to operate under it's mandate.

And it's to that mandate that I'm responding and not some notions that arose from the excesses of monarchs. You distinguish your neighbor from your government but your neighbor is your governor--and you his-- both in a legal sense and in a social sense. His legal influence on you is only a subset of his total influence. It seems silly to say to him: you can't humanely execute Charles Manson for fear of accidentally killing an innocent, but go ahead and drive your car and let 4600 teenagers a year die painfully (as of Oct 2004).

Your last sentence, I found kind of funny. I'm already more afraid of the public. Private citizens in the United States kill each other more often than the government does. Further, our actions affect each other, the environment, and increasingly the globe. How, then, can we have stricter standards to combat the excesses of the government when the excesses of the public exercise worse destruction? You know who I am most afraid of: the Mormon soccer mom driving her eight kids to practice and everyone is talking on the cellphone while a DVD is playing.

She gets bonus points for wearing fur and eating Burger King while driving away from a shopping spree at Walmart.

The point is this: whatever entity that exists, I have to assess their impact on me. I allow this accidental death trade-off for Peggy Sue to drive her SUV so I may as well allow this same trade-off so that the families of Timothy McVeigh's victims can seek justice. Within limits, of course. Most times, it is the families that most want to inject the needle and not the government.

I was twice blindsided by blondes last year who ran red lights. I'd prefer to take my chances in the courts than the roads.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
The blood of patriots? (none / 1) (#240)
by cr8dle2grave on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 08:57:06 PM EST

Huh? I don't see the relevance of discussing insurrectionists here.

In any case, our dispute involves the determination of a proper framework for assessing and ameliorating risk. You seem to be arguing that the same pragmatic risk/reward calculus which applies when looking at things like building highways ought to prevail in the anaysis of civic institutions such as the justice system. I, on the other hand, maintain that the very legitimacy of state is dependent upon its upholding a very different set of values with regards to the "fundamental liberties" of those it governs.

The traditional liberal myth--and I do believe it is fundamentally a myth--of the social contract compels the state to respect certain obligations towards the governed as absolute and fundamentally inviolate. Protecting the sacrosanct character of certain myths is essential to the maintainence of our collective national character, and when we allow ourselves to consider sacraficing the lives and fundmental liberties of innocent individuals in order that we might be somehow comforted in our fear of our neighbor, we do an irreperable violence against ourselves.

Now I'm not especially sympathetic to shrill and histrionic denounciations of American institutions and culture, a sentiment which unfortunately seems to be altogether too prevalent in certain quarters these days, but I do regard the current condition of our criminal justice system to be such an appaling affront to basic human decency that it genuinely makes me deeply ashamed of my country. We've allowed an ignoble fear to turn us against one another in the most viscous fashion, and I, for one, would have liked to believe that we were better than that.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
I find this unconvincing (none / 0) (#260)
by SocratesGhost on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 11:58:52 AM EST

Let me reword a part of what you say: "When we allow ourselves to consider sacrificing the lives and fundamental liberties of innocent individuals in order that we might arrive at work faster, we do an irreparable violence against ourselves." How is this not equally damaging?

I think that I don't fully understand your objection to my calculus. The same fundamental liberties are accidentally affected in highway bills and capital crimes--more so in the highway bills since the state seldom accidentally maims, disables, and scars. Talking about rights is one thing (and a separate issue), but when it comes to the accidental snuffing out of a human life, shouldn't we permit the same considerations on all endeavors? I don't hold separate reservations for governments and private citizens on this matter. If my life's end is considered a possible side effect, the same considerations apply in all circumstances.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
Do you really fail to see the difference... (none / 0) (#265)
by cr8dle2grave on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 12:50:42 PM EST

...between failing to make the world a perfect place, in the case of highways, and being an active agent of injustice? Also, we have to take into consideration that the state has no particular obligation to eliminate all possible risk from life, whereas it does have a clear prior obligation to refrain from treating any individual citizen in an unjust manner.  

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
You know what (none / 0) (#274)
by SocratesGhost on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 02:43:05 PM EST

I think I just persuaded myself to side with you.

In reply, I tried listing down your arguments since I think we keep talking about several things obliquely and wanted to get it straight. I wrote that one of your points is "The system is so flawed (or is it so vulnerable?) that the possibility of wrongful execution is too great."

Isn't this the heart of both of our debates anyway? I realized that we wouldn't convince each other on this fully anyway since you hold that one wrongful execution is too much but I don't expect perfection from a justice system. However, I don't expect sloppiness either. So, in reply, I tried to measure my own level of tolerance. After all, if 5% of all motorists died on the freeways, I think we'd all find this unacceptable. So, what was my tolerance for capital punishment? .5% Maybe that's a little high, I thought, but let's start there.

Doing due diligence, I found this. By my math, best case scenario shows it to be .85%. Maybe as high as 3.5%. Since a "maybe" trumps a "beyond all reasonable doubt" I think we should look somewhat favorably at the higher number. For the moment, I'll have to concede the point to you while I look more deeply into these cases and further convince myself.

I know this isn't the argument you wanted. I wish I could have stayed with you in the rarefied air of political theory but I'm afraid I'm too much of a pragmatist to stay there too long.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
The argument I wanted (none / 0) (#284)
by cr8dle2grave on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 04:59:31 PM EST

Actually, the next move I had planned was to drop all of the rhetorical pretenses and attempt to lay the issue out in a more deliberate and exacting fashion. But you've preempted me to some extent ;-)

If I give your argument the most generous treatment I can imagine, I must acknowledge that it does have some real appeal at a very abstracted level of application. Putting aside the specific issue of the death penalty for the moment, I think we can both agree that assuming the responsibility to stand in jusdgement necessarily entails assuming the responsibility for the hazard of misjudgement. Further, in the absence of perfect judgement, the possibility of misjudgement attends every specific act of judgement.

Now, the most pertainent question here is whether or not the necessary possibility of misjudgement should stand as a suffcient argument against undertaking the responsibility of rendering judgement as to criminal culpability. Again, I can only assume that we're in agreement that it ultimately does not. The possibility of misjudgement is a hazard which cannot, in itself, be allowed to dissuade us from the project of determining criminal responsibility.

Beyond this point things get rather sticky and the issue of where exactly the acceptable threshold  of risk lies, and how to best minimize that risk, involves a lot messy political logic.

I was glad to see that you recognize that even under your preferred framework for analysis, the justice system exhibits a failure rate which would be considered highly unacceptable in almost any other area. Actually, I think its much worse than you present it. The data you reference concerns what we might call ultimate failures, defined as false executions. Of only a slightly lessor concern would be false convictions. Given the number of post-conviction demonstrations of innocence by exculpatory evidence in capital cases since 77, we can say that the system has a demonstrated failure rate of 1 out of every 8 cases. What the real failure rate is is up for speculation, but I think its pretty safe to assume that it is higher than the demonstrated failure rate.

So to return to our highway analogy, would you get in a car if you knew that you only had a 1 in 8 chance of making from point A to point B alive?

Given all of the above, I fail to see how one can make a compelling case for the policy of continuing executions. Wouldn't prudence dictate that we at least suspend executions until the failure rate can be reduced to an "acceptable" level? Actually, you seem to have already conceded this point.

Anyhow, nice brawlin' with ya'.  

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
well said. all of it. /nt (none / 0) (#285)
by SocratesGhost on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 05:25:47 PM EST


-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
Well, except for that part about... (none / 0) (#287)
by cr8dle2grave on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 05:54:47 PM EST

...a 1 in 8 chance of surviving. What I meant, of course, was a 7 in 8 chance of surviving ;-P

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
well... (none / 0) (#288)
by SocratesGhost on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 06:04:03 PM EST

with my kind of luck on the roads...

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
Hear Hear (n/t) (none / 0) (#323)
by jubal3 on Wed Mar 16, 2005 at 11:37:22 PM EST




***Never attribute to malice that which can be easily attributed to incompetence. -HB Owen***
[ Parent ]
Hmm. (none / 0) (#220)
by Polverone on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 06:39:09 PM EST

I'm willing to accept the risk of accidentally killing or being killed while operating an automobile or engaging in other activities. I'm willing to accept that states may need to use deadly force to stop crimes in progress. I'm not willing to condone the state's execution of prisoners unless it never makes mistakes.

Automobile drivers don't generally set out to kill when they drive, while the state always sets out to kill when it applies the death penalty for crimes. I'm not willing to condone any agency's deliberate, premeditated killing of selected individuals if the individuals haven't done something deserving death. I oppose even the execution of deserving individuals if it opens the door, even a little bit, to the execution of undeserving individuals.

Of course death penalty supporters disagree with me, by definition. I'm not trying to indict the punishment in some gendankenexperiment, but in the system that actually exists. If we ever have an infallible judicial system, I'll probably cease to condemn the death penalty myself. I don't see a problem here. I attack the death penalty on grounds of procedure because I think it is wrong on grounds of procedure.

If we are imagining, I can imagine opposing the death penalty applied even by an infallible justice system if I found the group "crimes punishable by death" too large.

My reasons for opposing the death penalty may not be "good" in that they don't win over a lot of current death penalty supporters, but they are good enough for me and (apparently) many others to oppose capital punishment. Of course it's possible that some of those others may have different reasons for opposing the death penalty, and attack it only on grounds of procedure because they think it's a nice, compact argument. In the same way, "my body, my choice" may be said by supporters of legal abortion who wouldn't think twice about laws against heroin possession or sales of human organs.
--
It's not a just, good idea; it's the law.
[ Parent ]

It gets me, and those like me, on your side (none / 0) (#164)
by curien on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 09:50:59 AM EST

I don't find the death penalty, in and of itself, to be morally wrong. I am against the death penalty because it is a flawed punishment. Remove the flaws, and I'd be all for it.

--
This sig is umop apisdn.
[ Parent ]
Indeed (none / 0) (#62)
by Znork on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 02:37:51 PM EST

"If we were killing jaywalkers and tax evaders, that would be one thing,"

Indeed, as the death penalty would actually be useful as a deterrent for jaywalking and tax evasion, it would be far easier to defend.

[ Parent ]

Not sure about tax evasion (none / 0) (#202)
by davidduncanscott on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 04:43:15 PM EST

...but a rough sort of death penalty already exists for jaywalking, and its deterrent value seems limited (at least in my neighborhood, where kids actually wait for the light to be wrong before crossing.)

[ Parent ]
address why (none / 0) (#83)
by mpalczew on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 06:44:22 PM EST

ok, you claim it is civilized but you don't say what is the reason for the death penalty in the first place. Simply the well we do it to those that really deserve it, and becase we all agree on this form of killing it's not murder.
-- Death to all Fanatics!
[ Parent ]
Let me put this differently (none / 1) (#85)
by thelizman on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 07:26:54 PM EST

I thought my meaning was plain, but let me state this differently. Prisons are designed to isolate people from society who are unwilling to function according to societies rules for a period of time such that they can return to society when they are deemed capable of rejoining society. The death penalty is a method of dealing with individuals whose acts are so detrimental to society that they cannot be returned to it, or any subset of it. Even prisoners have a value to their life, and simply locking up unrepentant murderers in a place where they can kill people who have a potential to once again join society is not a civilized notion.

The only problem with the death penalty is that it isn't applied often enough.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
so why not lock the really bad guys up together?nt (none / 0) (#176)
by mpalczew on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 12:12:05 PM EST


-- Death to all Fanatics!
[ Parent ]
Cruel and Inhumane (none / 0) (#183)
by thelizman on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 01:35:11 PM EST

How much does it say about the civilized state of man if our execution method is akin to cockfighting? A nice little injection, the bad guy goes to sleep, and everyone moves along.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
so killing more humane than locking up. (none / 0) (#188)
by mpalczew on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 02:20:24 PM EST

so killing more humane than locking up.

damn, so that's what they mean by compasionate conservatism.  
-- Death to all Fanatics!
[ Parent ]

It is when (none / 0) (#242)
by thelizman on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 09:27:05 PM EST

You're proposing locking up convicted killers in a manner as to allow them to kill each other. Christ boy, doy you even think about what you're writing?
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
You forgot this tidbit (2.66 / 3) (#9)
by jubal3 on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 10:24:06 PM EST

Justice Kennedy:
"It is proper that we acknowledge the overwhelming weight of international opinion against the juvenile death penalty..."

WTF?

Since when does U.S. law operate on the concensus of international opinion?

IANAL, but is there any precedent for this kind of thing?

If you ask me, it's a decision that because of the reasoning and language used, is bound to get reversed as soon as there's a 5-4 Conservative split (real soon, look who's in the white house).

How about addressing hat seems to me the main issue (besides the idea of killing minors on general principle):

How is it that we are planning to execute people under our laws who are denied due process in every other aspect of life?

They can't execute contracts, vote, etc. because they're too immature to exercise these rights,yet somehow when they commit crimes, they are magically matured.

I'm all for the near-term result,which is the cessation of executions of minors. But the arguments the court made seem pretty weak.


***Never attribute to malice that which can be easily attributed to incompetence. -HB Owen***

Justice O'Connor addressed this. (3.00 / 3) (#10)
by aphrael on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 10:24:53 PM EST

It has been common for supreme court decisions to refer to international judicial opinion for a century and a half. It is, in other words, standard operating procedure.

[ Parent ]
International law (none / 1) (#130)
by shinshin on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 11:52:53 PM EST

Since when does U.S. law operate on the concensus of international opinion?

Courts interpret the law. Treaties that we have signed are law in America, such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. As with any law, the court is the body that interprets how it should be applied in light of a changing environment. When a state is in violation of federal law, then it is the place of the Supreme Court to tell them to stop.

Also, it's pretty fucking embarrassing that United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child has been ratified by every country in the world except for the United States and Somalia.



____
We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
[ Parent ]
thank you (none / 0) (#149)
by adiffer on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 02:55:29 AM EST

If I remember right, treaties come in at the same level as our Constitution unless they say otherwise, right?

Besides, I can't think of a better clause for using a broader set of standards than 'cruel and unusual.'
-Dream Big. --Grow Up.
[ Parent ]

Nope (none / 1) (#180)
by cr8dle2grave on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 12:53:10 PM EST

Treaties have roughly the same status as other legislation passed by the federal legislative branch. Were treaties to have the same status a Consitutional amendments, it would serve as an effective end run around the intentionally high barriers established for amending the Constitution, as ratifying a treaty is a much easier process.

It is also important to note that when the courts are asked to "enforce" a treaty, or enforce those domestic provisions designed to ensure compliance with said treaty, Congessional authority and jurisdictional issues come into play. For instance, SCOTUS is set to hear, or already has heard, a case this session pertaining to our treaty obligations to inform local consulates when citizens of their country are arrested and/or imprisoned in the US. I don't recal the specifics of the case, but as I recall the matter of dispute concerns the authority, or the lack thereof, of Congress to compel certain behaviors over the individual state governments (who are usually the ones doing the arresting and imprisoning).

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
thanks (none / 0) (#293)
by adiffer on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 01:16:54 AM EST

OK.  I'll admit to ignorance here.

I do remember our Senators were originally chosen by State legislatures.  Having treaties ratified by the Senate effectively gave the States a chance to speak through their reprepesentatives.  Constitutional amendments run in similar way when it comes to State approval, so that might be why I was making that link in my mind.
-Dream Big. --Grow Up.
[ Parent ]

Somalia has an excuse for not ratifying... (none / 0) (#154)
by 3waygeek on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 06:35:35 AM EST

they have no recognized government. What's our excuse?

[ Parent ]
I wonder how you'd feel about that... (1.00 / 13) (#13)
by dharma on Tue Mar 01, 2005 at 11:25:06 PM EST

...if your mom had run into this guy.

Seriously, all you fuckers against the death penalty should be executed merely for being stupid. Some people are evil - plain and simple. They deserve to live as much as that cockroach I crushed last night in my kitchen.

Some people are evil. (2.75 / 4) (#14)
by aphrael on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 12:04:19 AM EST

That doesn't justify killing them; for neither you, nor I, have the authority to render that judgement over a fellow man.

[ Parent ]
Wait... let me check (3.00 / 2) (#24)
by Anonymous Howards End on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 06:22:16 AM EST

Bad news, I'm afraid.  I asked god what we should do, and he told me that he doesn't exist, and so we actually have to deal with this unpleasant, difficult to think about shit ourselves. Sorry.

[ Parent ]
Not good enough (none / 0) (#56)
by thankyougustad on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 01:52:41 PM EST

No no one is expecting God's bushy white beard to peek over a cloud and explain this all to us. Having said that, they person proDP people are so desperate to kill has just as much right to live as anyone else. Perhaps they don't have a right to be apart of our society, but as noone gave them life, noone can legitimatly take it away. That is not justice, it is foolishness.

No no thanks no
Je n'aime que le bourbon
no no thanks no
c'est une affaire de goût.

[ Parent ]
Society has a right ot act in defense it's citizen (1.80 / 5) (#44)
by zorba77 on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 12:24:30 PM EST

And like it or not, that involves executing those who can't be rehabilitated.
Return the West Coast to the Tribes of sasquatch!
[ Parent ]
No (2.40 / 5) (#55)
by thankyougustad on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 01:50:38 PM EST

Society has the right to remove those individuals that it considers dangerous. They can be sequestered or exiled, but society never has the right to deprive a person of life. Guess what: despite your efforts to pigeon hole everyone into liberl/conservative or good/evil catagories, we are all just people. Just as you don't have the right to kill me, no one has the right to kill you if you do kill me.

No no thanks no
Je n'aime que le bourbon
no no thanks no
c'est une affaire de goût.

[ Parent ]
you sir (1.00 / 5) (#58)
by zorba77 on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 02:24:30 PM EST

Are just simply WRONG.
Return the West Coast to the Tribes of sasquatch!
[ Parent ]
Good one n/t (none / 0) (#61)
by thankyougustad on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 02:37:22 PM EST



No no thanks no
Je n'aime que le bourbon
no no thanks no
c'est une affaire de goût.

[ Parent ]
Wow! (none / 1) (#63)
by CanSpice on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 03:00:32 PM EST

I'm surprised your esteemed opponent was able to withstand that withering argument. Kudos to you, sir!

[ Parent ]
Guess what: (none / 1) (#93)
by Checking Out Dudes In The Locker Room on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 08:23:39 PM EST

you're a beautiful feelings-positing sack of shit. Fact: if a society has the will and power to execute those it finds dysfunctional to the grand experiment, that feat in itself has justified the very right to execute this person. Fact: nobody has a "right" to their own life unless they happen to be participating in some delusional humanitarianist experiment where they can take advantage of this fact, or they engineer their way out of a situation of execution. Your condemnation of the death penalty is just as arbitrary as somebody saying they have a "right" to tell the tax man to "shove it" or murder any amount of vagrants that they please. In short, you are a religious dipshit.

[ Parent ]
At the risk of invoking godwin (none / 0) (#95)
by aphrael on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 08:26:40 PM EST

Then, by your logic, the murder of several hundred thousand people by the Rwandan government was justified, and the Rwandan government did nothing wrong.

[ Parent ]
No, they did nothing "wrong". (none / 0) (#96)
by Checking Out Dudes In The Locker Room on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 08:33:13 PM EST

Jesus Christ, this is the point I'm trying to get across: You're trying to tell me that there is an absolute. And even if I were to hypothetically embrace this notion, where do you place this absolute? Where is the borderline between taking the posessions of a person (taxation) and taking their life (state-sanctioned murders)? You're about to draw me a diagram and show me exactly at what point these two things deviate in principle? The body is magically sacrosanct? Why does somebody have a "right" to their life yet don't have a "right" to be free of imprisonment and free of seizure of their posessions? Because they are living biological entities? Their ability to express dissatisfaction becomes the holy reason that they should keep their lives? Draw me the diagram.

[ Parent ]
Ahhh. (none / 0) (#98)
by aphrael on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 08:39:32 PM EST

Fair enough. You don't see anything wrong with slaughtering hundreds of thousands of people. I think you have no place in polite society. I suspect we must now agree to disagree.

[ Parent ]
How can you possibly miss the line? (3.00 / 2) (#117)
by cburke on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 10:34:31 PM EST

Why does somebody have a "right" to their life yet don't have a "right" to be free of imprisonment and free of seizure of their posessions? Because they are living biological entities? Their ability to express dissatisfaction becomes the holy reason that they should keep their lives? Draw me the diagram.

I suppose someone who doesn't think the Rwandan genocide was "wrong" would miss such a fundamental distinction, but nevertheless in the spirit of generosity I will provide you with the diagram you seek:


             crime is committed
                     |
          man is convicted of crime
                     |
            man is sentenced to...
                     |
           +---------+---------+
           |         |         |
     imprisonment  death   property seizure
           |         |         |
             penalty is served
           |         |         |
 future evidence shows man is innocent and thus...
           |         |         |
     man is freed    |   man's property is returned
                     |
                    ???

Is it clear now?

[ Parent ]

That's a distraction (none / 0) (#163)
by daani on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 09:50:25 AM EST

Just because it is difficult to define exactly where a line lies, does not mean one cannot identify things which lie clearly on one side of it.

[ Parent ]
Are you serious (none / 1) (#232)
by thankyougustad on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 07:38:25 PM EST

Where is the borderline between taking the posessions of a person (taxation) and taking their life (state-sanctioned murders)?
Paying taxes is part of the social contract : I agree for now to live in your bullshit society and so I pay taxes for the roads I use and regretably for the police and military. On the other hand, as long as I'm not dead or in prison I always have the option of leaving and moving to a place like Liechenstien. Once I've been killed by society, all bets are off.

No no thanks no
Je n'aime que le bourbon
no no thanks no
c'est une affaire de goût.

[ Parent ]
oh wow, a nihilist. (none / 0) (#227)
by thankyougustad on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 07:17:54 PM EST

hey dude, some of us are trying to be a part of this semblence of society. I didn't ask to be born, don't fucking think you can kill me. The idea that I have a right to live is pragmatic, not idealistic. You came up with one of the stupidist arguements of them all.
Fact: if a society has the will and power to execute those it finds dysfunctional to the grand experiment, that feat in itself has justified the very right to execute this person.
You should have been at nuremburg to explain that to all those beautiful feelings sack of shit hippies and religious dipshits.

No no thanks no
Je n'aime que le bourbon
no no thanks no
c'est une affaire de goût.

[ Parent ]
Go ahead... (none / 0) (#60)
by Znork on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 02:34:44 PM EST

... find someone we'd all be better off without and shoot them, then report yourself to the nearest police station and see if the court accepts your reasoning that you executed them in defense of your fellow citizens.

I'll betcha they'll tell you that your argument is flawed.

[ Parent ]

When you've already caught them... (3.00 / 2) (#65)
by SIGFPE on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 03:45:58 PM EST

...and locked them up, please explain how is it self-defense to then kill them?
SIGFPE
[ Parent ]
redneck alert (2.66 / 3) (#36)
by army of phred on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 12:08:55 PM EST

another trailer park just got phone lines!

"Republicans are evil." lildebbie
"I have no fucking clue what I'm talking about." motormachinemercenary
"my wife is getting a blowjob" ghostoft1ber
[ Parent ]
liberal bias (1.66 / 3) (#43)
by zorba77 on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 12:23:36 PM EST

proving they are elitists and not for the common man.
Return the West Coast to the Tribes of sasquatch!
[ Parent ]
I wonder how you'd feel (3.00 / 3) (#54)
by thankyougustad on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 01:48:21 PM EST

if your brother was this guy.

No no thanks no
Je n'aime que le bourbon
no no thanks no
c'est une affaire de goût.

[ Parent ]
This is starting to piss me off (none / 1) (#168)
by hoops on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 11:28:12 AM EST

The guy you mention was <blink>NOT</blink> executed. All of you people who say "my only problem with the death penalty is that somone innocent might get executed, DON'T SAY IT CAN'T HAPPEN BECAUSE YOU KNOW IT DOES!!11!!1!one!!1!!" are starting to piss me off.

I have yet to hear of a single case where a person was exonorated posthumously. I hear plenty of cases where someone is on death row and is later released. This shows me that the system is working correctly. That is why there are 40 years of appeals before someone is executed. The bailiff doesnt shoot the guy in the head right after the jury says "guilty". I can't speak for other states, but in Texas ALL capital cases are granted an appeal. It is automatic.
--Hoops
If I were a koala bear, the first thing I would do is urinate all over you and bi
[
Parent ]

Research guide (3.00 / 2) (#206)
by shinshin on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 05:09:25 PM EST

I have yet to hear of a single case where a person was exonorated[sic] posthumously.

Gee, it's too bad there isn't some global information network we could use to research this.

In the future, you might try the following:

  1. Learn how to spell "exonerated"
  2. Search for "exonerated posthumously" at google.com.
  3. Read about people like Frank Lee Smith.
  4. (optional) Shut the hell up.
All of you people who say [...] are starting to piss me off.
Right back at you, kid.

____
We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
[ Parent ]
Nice try (none / 1) (#218)
by hoops on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 06:33:18 PM EST

Frank Lee Smith died of cancer while in prison. He was not executed.

Maybe you should try reading the links you provide, kid.

--Hoops
If I were a koala bear, the first thing I would do is urinate all over you and bi
[
Parent ]

Your point? (none / 1) (#229)
by shinshin on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 07:26:07 PM EST

He was exonerated posthumously, which you said had never happened. What's your point? Because cancer happened to get to him during incarceration before the gas chamber, that that somehow makes it OK?

____
We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
[ Parent ]
Alrighty (none / 1) (#230)
by thankyougustad on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 07:35:24 PM EST

In a funny coincidence, I have yet to hear of anyone recieving a retrail after having been killed and buried.

You might be interested in the case of Leolnel Herrera who was executed dispite the fact that someone else confessed to the murder. Part of the problem with the Death Penalty is that it isn't seen as a method of removing a dangerous element from society, but rather a way of finding 'closure' for the family of the victims. In other words, these people are killed in a kind of eye for an eye environment. This puts pressure on police departments to find their 'man,' often at the expense of good police work. Take the case of Rolando Cruz and Alejandro Hernandez, who spent ten years on death row wating to be killed. Before they were exonerated, the actual culpret of the crime killed again. Meanwhile, they've spent ten years of their life waiting to be killed.

For every 7 executions-486 since 1976-1 other prisoner on death row has been found innocent. According to this website, Illinois has exonerated almost as many people (9) as it has killed (11).

In addition, and most importantly, the state has very little interest in exonerating someone they have put to death.



No no thanks no
Je n'aime que le bourbon
no no thanks no
c'est une affaire de goût.

[ Parent ]
Minor point: outdated statistics (3.00 / 2) (#244)
by shinshin on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 09:51:58 PM EST

For every 7 executions-486 since 1976-1 other prisoner on death row has been found innocent. According to this website, Illinois has exonerated almost as many people (9) as it has killed (11).

Your statistics are a bit out of date ... 118 prisoners have been exonerated our of 950 executions. The ratio (1 exonerated of every 8 executed) is about the same, though, and is equally chilling.

____
We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
[ Parent ]

Try searching (3.00 / 2) (#256)
by mettaur on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 08:53:54 AM EST

NCADP is a good start. A number of people have been proven innocent, but noone has been actually exonerated; you can't hold a trial posthumously.


--
[Applying business theory to trolling]
[ Parent ]
emotional arguments are masturbatory nt (none / 0) (#78)
by mpalczew on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 05:42:36 PM EST


-- Death to all Fanatics!
[ Parent ]
missing something (none / 0) (#147)
by adiffer on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 02:48:03 AM EST

You are missing something.

Feel free to kill evil people.  I might not vote to convict you if I'm on the jury.  Kill them in self defense and you have a better chance of securing my decision.  Be careful, though.  If I think you are enjoying it too much, I will count you among the evil people and vote to convict and give you a life sentence to live among people I think are like you.

It is one thing to kill evil people.
It is quite another to grant the State the power and responsibility for killing those evil people on your behalf.
-Dream Big. --Grow Up.
[ Parent ]

Slippery slope argument ahoy. (none / 0) (#305)
by werebear on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 08:17:36 PM EST

You see, it always _starts_ with executing the evil mass murdering head-cases. Then in time it degenerates into executing people who disagree with you ... or are just stupid. (Stupidity is the human condidtion. Deal with it.) Historical parallels abound from the Roman empire to the French revolution.

This is to my mind a fairly good case in and of itself against capital punishment.

[ Parent ]

False Assumption #1 (2.66 / 3) (#15)
by IceTitan on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 12:12:45 AM EST

"betrays us as unwilling to face our better instincts as a people"

Stop acting so noble for the rest of us.
Nuke 'em from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

Someone has to ... (nt) (none / 1) (#304)
by werebear on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 08:11:36 PM EST



[ Parent ]
You little puke (1.06 / 16) (#21)
by felixrayman on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 04:06:15 AM EST

Cunts like you would have found legalistic excuses to oppose the abolition of slavery as well. Go vigorously fuck your mother.

Call Donald Rumsfeld and tell him our sorry asses are ready to go home. Tell him to come spend a night in our building. - Pfc. Matthew C. O'Dell

Wow. (none / 1) (#31)
by aphrael on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 11:15:23 AM EST

Perhaps I wasn't clear enough. I'm basically criticizing the court for not having the courage to throw out the precedent and instead twisting language and reason to contort their decision so that it seems to be consistent with precedent. Eg, i'm not saying that I disagree with the outcome - I disagree with the idiotic rationale, and think the Court should have just come out and said what it meant. I would have had no problem with a straightforward overturning of Stanford. What pisses me off is the lame attempt to make this decision appear consistent with it.

Contrast the difference with Lawrence, where the court said "we were wrong in Bowers". Why didn't they do the same here?

[ Parent ]

What somewhat disturbs me.. (2.83 / 6) (#23)
by strlen on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 04:54:25 AM EST

First of, let me put forth my own bias: I am against death penalty in virtually all cases, with few exceptions (genocide, mass terrorism, vicious crimes such as multiple torture-murder). If it were up to me to make the law, the death penalty would be excersized about once in every 20 years.

Yet, there's few things which seem disturbing in this case: namely the use of international opinion as the standard in domestic decision making (would they possibly extend this to issues of gun control? to issues of taxation -- i.e.: ruling in favor of federal gun control bills on the principle that Europeans/Canadians have toughter gun control; or ruling in favor of possibly unconstitutional taxes, using the argument that Europeans are generally taxed higher?) and -- what I found to be even more alarming -- is that the majority opinion was written in fashion which talked about the merits (to society) of the specific laws, rather than on their constitutionality. I'm no strict constructionist: I fully supported Lawrence vs. Texas and the 14th-ammendment incorporation of the Bill of Rights, but it is the apparent adoption of the alleged strawman of "judicial activism" as the de-jure mantra that somewhat bothers me.

Lastly, why is it acceptable to send juveniles to prison for life, yet not execute them? In both cases they pay the full price for what they did before they were 18 and are permanently removed from any meaningful societal existance.

--
[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.

Life == 15-25 years (1.00 / 1) (#27)
by deadcow on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 10:20:17 AM EST

Not quite the death penalty. While 25 years is more than enough to remove one from any meaningful societal interaction outside of prison, it's hardly a death sentence.

[ Parent ]
Also (none / 0) (#165)
by rusty on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 10:23:50 AM EST

Life imprisonment allows for the possibility of error. You can't return the part of their life you've taken away, but you can give them the rest back.

I can only imagine that anyone in favor of the death penalty must believe that the courts never make a mistake.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

That is a great point (none / 0) (#191)
by strlen on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 03:20:04 PM EST

Which is why, again, I am opposed to death penalty in ordinary cases. But we're talking about juvenile offenders, and what you're making is an argument against death penalty in general. I don't see anything wrong in application of death penalty in to juveniles that is different from application of a life sentence to juveniles -- besides of course the difference in application of death penalty to adults vs. life sentence to adult (and as I've said before, in all practical cases, I'm opposed to that).

--
[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
[ Parent ]
Yeah (none / 0) (#192)
by rusty on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 03:27:35 PM EST

I guess I have trouble coming up with some reason why the death penalty should be excluded for minors, considering I think it should be excluded for everyone. So, like, of course that includes minors.

Of the arguments I've read here, the lack of many other basic rights for minors seems the most convincing to me. We don't treat minors as full-fledged social agents in virtually all other areas, so why should they be subjected to a punishment that treats them as such?

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Then (none / 0) (#282)
by strlen on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 04:44:35 PM EST

The course of action would be to rule out punishing juveniles as adults, or at least punishing them as adults where the punishment they receive is in proportion to the rights they have: for instance, as a 16 year old has obviously more rights than a 12 year old (a right to drive a car in most states, ability to drop out of school in most states, ability to work) -- then of course they could face some adult punishments, but very likely not life imprisonment.

Irregardless, of how one looks at it, I can't find a single moral principle which says "it's wrong to execute juveniles, it isn't wrong to execute adults; it isn't wrong to sentence adults and juveniles to life imprisonment". Seems to be the real issue is opposition to death penalty in general, or opposition to punishments of juveniles in general. Either way, the moral philosophy shouldn't be the basis of the court decision anyway, at least in American/English style legal system.

--
[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
[ Parent ]

Consistency... (3.00 / 4) (#59)
by Znork on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 02:28:12 PM EST

"with few exceptions"

Why? What are the criteria for the exceptions? Is your criteria revenge? If it is revenge, would you consider multiple torture-murder to be ethically defensible if it was done for revenge?

I agree that the reasons given for this ruling are among the most pathetic I have ever seen.

"Lastly, why is it acceptable to send juveniles to prison for life, yet not execute them?"

The death penalty is never acceptable. The only justifiable reason for killing another human being is when killing is the minimum force necessary for self-defense.

Life inprisonment serves the purpose of self-defense, and it can be justified as the minimum force necessary. The death penalty is not the minimum force, and thus taints the state, and through the state the citizens with the responsibility for unjustifiable killing.

As long as there are different criteria for how a person may behave versus how the state may behave it becomes impossible to retain a consistent ethical framework. If self-defense is allowed for citizens, self-defense should be allowed for the state. If revenge is acceptable for the state, killing for revenge should be acceptable for citizens (perhaps arbited through courts as civil lawsuits to improve reliability).

It's all the exceptions that gives us a lot of the unreliable inconsistent and unjust mess that is todays legal system.

[ Parent ]

you oppose the death penalty? (1.16 / 12) (#28)
by circletimessquare on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 10:25:01 AM EST

good for you

it's good to see someone out there take a brave stand in defense of murderers, violent pedophiles, sadistic rapists, serial killers, spree killers, homicidal maniacs, and the like

these poor souls have suffered long enough

it's nice to see people out there with their prioirities straight, for clearly, vigorous concern with and defending the rights of folks like these is of paramount import amongst the problems in the world

you know, other problems which might relieve the suffering of INNOCENT people


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

why waste them by killing them? (none / 0) (#34)
by m a r c on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 11:49:01 AM EST

agreed that these people are monsters but the cost to the taxpayer to kill them is quite high, and society gets nothing back in return.

Instead I propose that they be subject to scientific testing (be it drug or otherwise). Also, considering the backlash against animal testing this proposal makes sense now more than ever.

I have a friend who actually earns income from drug companies by allowing new drugs to be tested on him. However, if the side effects are severe, there is a loss of productivity to society as a result if he can no longer work. Taking these criminals into account, their productivity for society is nil, so any ill effects of drug testing are null and void.
I got a dog and named him "Stay". Now, I go "Come here, Stay!". After a while, the dog went insane and wouldn't move at all.
[ Parent ]

it's only expensive (2.33 / 3) (#35)
by circletimessquare on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 12:01:00 PM EST

because of all the legal challenges

a bullet in the head really doesn't cost much

streamline and fasttrack the execution of these assholes

oh i'm sorry, do i sound harsh to you?

i know, my priorities are all fucked up, my empathy is with the people these criminals victimized

i'm really crazy that way, it's some radical idea i've cooked up: show empathy for crime victims, not criminals

i know, it's a really wacky far-out idea, who knows if it's a valid instinct


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

[ Parent ]

easy to say (none / 1) (#46)
by Benny Cemoli on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 12:28:22 PM EST

It's not about protecting the guilty. It's about being sure they really are guilty.

If we instantly executed our capital convicts our costs would be much lower. Our false positive rate would be much higher. Some of those executed would be innocent.

The notion that it's better for the guilty to go free than to have one innocent suffer is an integral part of our legal tradition. It's not "bleeding heart"-ism. It's a fundamental principal. Most of those on death row deserve to die, probably many times over. No one should give a shit about the rights of the truly guilty. But the rights of the innocent vastly outweigh our pocketbook convenience. And that's why everyone of those scumbags gets numerous appeals, stays, hearings, etc.


"the fabric of space quivers at the touch of even a microbe."
[ Parent ]

yes, but (none / 1) (#68)
by circletimessquare on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 03:58:34 PM EST

we really can cut down some of the bullshit legal fat

it should be a right of crime victims to see the speedy execution of those who victimized them or their loved ones

some asshole sitting on death row for 20 years is not justice

kill the fucker already, or set him free

but stay of execution after stay of execution on the flimsiest of bullshit is simply injustice


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

[ Parent ]

Unlike you (none / 0) (#153)
by Mason on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 04:07:00 AM EST

most people would find it problematic if they brought about the speedy, convenient death of an innocent person.

This is the problem with the entire system.  It has to take that long, as all it takes is a few people having speedy executions and are later exonerated to create some serious civil unrest.

Death sentences will always be slow, ponderous, and methodical.  I know that you're all "shit happens" about this stuff, but our states and nation have an obligation to try really hard not to slaughter too many innocent citizens.  So you can support executions with the decade after decade of appeal clogging the courts and costing huge sums of money, or no executions, but not magical happy quicky executions.  They won't exist until a lot more of our society has been dismantled.

[ Parent ]

In fact (none / 0) (#40)
by minerboy on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 12:19:28 PM EST

Prisoners are often used in the early stages of clinical testing of new drugs. I'm not so sure if I would want them substituted for animals in preclinical testing though. Besides there's not enough death penalty guys foir a good preclinical toxicity screening



[ Parent ]
Studying of Serial Killers is crap (1.00 / 4) (#42)
by zorba77 on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 12:21:45 PM EST

Just like expecting common sense from a liberal. It has bene proven that Serial killers et al, manipulate the study of them for their own amusement , reveling in the attention. That is why your idea is stupid.
Return the West Coast to the Tribes of sasquatch!
[ Parent ]
Thanks for clearing that up. (3.00 / 4) (#45)
by Mr.Surly on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 12:25:14 PM EST

I thought the issue was more complex than that, but you've shown me how simple it really is.

It would be a different if anyone was mistakenly put to death, but that never happens.

[ Parent ]

welcome to the real world (none / 1) (#66)
by circletimessquare on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 03:53:09 PM EST

we will always, always, always, FOREVER kill innocent people by mistake in the pursuit of justice

we are human beings, we are not infallible

but that fact should not stop the pursuit of justice

your choice is between:

  1. pursuing justice, and creating horrible mistakes
  2. not to pursue justice, letting criminals commit crimes unpunished
make your choice, and make peace with the fact we are human beings, not perfect gods

or does your naive idealism prevent you from the pursuit of justice?


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

[ Parent ]

how about choice (3) (3.00 / 2) (#69)
by aphrael on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 04:06:48 PM EST

pursuing justice by means other than killing people.

[ Parent ]
how does it work in your mind (none / 0) (#72)
by circletimessquare on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 04:28:07 PM EST

that killing people is off the table in the pursuit of justice, and that such a pursuit can still be called the pursuit of justice?

imagine someone who in clear conscience, with plenty of other opportunities, methodically and with long-term thoughtful intent, and perhaps multiple times, chooses to take the lives innocents?

what is "justice" for such a person in your mind?

why is your empathy and concern for the well-being of such a person, and not the innocents they have killed?


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

[ Parent ]

Err... (none / 0) (#184)
by cr8dle2grave on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 01:35:12 PM EST

that killing people is off the table in the pursuit of justice, and that such a pursuit can still be called the pursuit of justice?

You'll first need to demonstrate that "killing people" is somehow an essential element of justice properly understood.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
You fail it. (3.00 / 2) (#73)
by Mr.Surly on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 04:43:48 PM EST

I didn't come down on one side or the debate or another, as you seem to imply.

I merely pointed out your completely unnuanced view of the world, which you ham-handedly tried to reverse and accuse me of the "naive idealism" comment.

WRT to your bullet points:

#1 ("The death penalty") Admits to "horrible mistakes," as if that's ok.
#2 ("No death penalty") Would imply that anything other than the death penalty would mean "unpunished," which is clearly not true.  In fact, for some crimes the death penalty could be considered too lenient.  How about hard labor? Or even daily torture?  Surely torture would be worse than death?  No, by your reasoning, torture would be "unpunished," and that's why you're considered a simpleton.

Here's the crux of the matter: Regardless of whether the death penalty is a valid punishment or not, it's not possible to undo it.  It's permanent.  At the very least, incarceration is reversible (minus time lost) in the event of "horrible mistakes."

If you bother to reply to this, I'm sure you'll dance around, change the subject, call me names, or otherwise not really answer.  Even if you do all of the above, try to stay on topic.

[ Parent ]

let's get a few things out of the way (1.00 / 3) (#74)
by circletimessquare on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 04:51:05 PM EST

"If you bother to reply to this, I'm sure you'll dance around, change the subject, call me names, or otherwise not really answer."

watch me do the robot, you fucking shitstain... oh btw, did you catch the new keanu reeves movie?

now:

"Here's the crux of the matter: Regardless of whether the death penalty is a valid punishment or not, it's not possible to undo it.  It's permanent.  At the very least, incarceration is reversible (minus time lost) in the event of "horrible mistakes.""

yes, that is the crux of the matter

we make mistakes

i believe we should still kill people who commit crimes which rise to that standard, regardless of the fact that we might make mistakes

because we will ALWAYS make mistakes no matter WHAT

we are human beings, we are fallible

why does your problem with the fact that we make mistakes prevent you from the pursuit of justice?

it's a problem that will never be overcome

so why can't you make peace with that? or are you a hopeless idealist who is therefore irrelevant to a discussion about reality?

oh, almost forgot:

you're a fucking shitstain

now watch me do the robot

(snicker)


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

[ Parent ]

Just so we're clear (none / 0) (#76)
by Mr.Surly on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 05:28:21 PM EST

Just so I understand your position:
  1. Making a mistaken conviction puts an innocent person to death.
  2. Making a mistaken conviction puts an innocent person in prison for 10 years.
You choose #1, is that correct?

i believe we should still kill people who commit crimes which rise to that standard, regardless of the fact that we might make mistakes

because we will ALWAYS make mistakes no matter WHAT

Let me paraphrase: "Because mistakes are inevitable [no argument there], we should always apply the death penalty in cases that warrant it."   If you don't have a problem with this statement, then either 1) You truly are clueless 2) You're merely trolling.

You forgot to repsond to this:
Anything other than the death penalty is (in your words) "unpunished."  Would you agree that any punishment that's worse than death isn't a punishment?  Torture, prison rape, and hard labor isn't considered justice or punishment?  Please clarify, regarless of constitutionality.

[ Parent ]

let me clarify (none / 1) (#79)
by circletimessquare on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 06:05:48 PM EST

"In spite of the fact mistakes are inevitable, we should always apply the death penalty in cases that warrant it."

where the heck does "Because mistakes are inevitable..." come from in your initial paraphrase?

can you parse logic?

additionally:

"Anything other than the death penalty is (in your words) "unpunished.""

ummm... again, what exactly is your problem with simple logic?

show me where exactly i implied such a thought, and i will stand corrected, how's that? can you show me where i said "anything other than the death penalty is unpunished" and my pov will stand as humbly defeated by you

so show me where i said that, please

otherwise, stop pulling shit out of your ass and ascribing it as something i said simply because you have a problem with simple logic, mmkay?

as for the rest of what you said in your comment, i have simply this to say:

how can you expect me to debate you clearly and rationally without resorting to calling you a fucking moron when you ACT like a fucking moron by ascribing to me bullshit that only exists in your fucking head?

you think it's unfair i call you names?

you want me to debate on the level of respect and rationality?

how about you demonstrate some of those fucking qualities yourself you feebleminded twat!

oh excuse me, i must be calling you names to avoid the subject because you've won the arugment

oh silly silly me

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

[ Parent ]

Answers, sans insults (none / 1) (#166)
by Mr.Surly on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 11:12:36 AM EST

where the heck does "Because mistakes are inevitable..." come from in your initial paraphrase?

From the horse's mouth.  I merely reversed the order of your sentences:


i believe we should still kill people who commit crimes which rise to that standard, regardless of the fact that we might make mistakes

because we will ALWAYS make mistakes no matter WHAT

My paraphrase: "Because mistakes are inevitable [no argument there], we should always apply the death penalty in cases that warrant it."

Any more nits to pick?

---

"Anything other than the death penalty is (in your words) "unpunished.""

ummm... again, what exactly is your problem with simple logic?

show me where exactly i implied [emphasis mine] such a thought, and i will stand corrected, how's that? can you show me where i said "anything other than the death penalty is unpunished" and my pov will stand as humbly defeated by you

so show me where i said that, please

otherwise, stop pulling shit out of your ass and ascribing it as something i said simply because you have a problem with simple logic, mmkay?

Below, I'm showing you exactly where you implied that very thing, as was pointed out in my message responding to it.  Why do I need to repeat myself?

Furthermore, you ask me to find flaw in your logic, then challenge me to prove you even made the statement.  Which is it?  Are you defending your logic, or denying it exists?


we will always, always, always, FOREVER kill innocent people by mistake in the pursuit of justice
...
but that fact should not stop the pursuit of justice

your choice is between:

  1. pursuing justice, and creating horrible mistakes [Death penalty]
  2. not to pursue justice, letting criminals commit crimes unpunished [No death penalty]

---

how can you expect me to debate you clearly and rationally without resorting to calling you a fucking moron when you ACT like a fucking moron by ascribing to me bullshit that only exists in your fucking head?

I don't expect any such thing from you.  You have a habit of saying things, getting called on it, then pretending you never said it.

Rather than making this about whether you said something or not (because you did, see above), why not take your own advice and try to be rational about it, rather than pretending you never said it?

[ Parent ]

YHBT. YH*B*L. HAND. (none / 0) (#322)
by bjlhct on Tue Mar 15, 2005 at 10:51:18 PM EST



*
[kur0(or)5hin http://www.kuro5hin.org/intelligence] - drowning your sorrows in intellectualism
[ Parent ]
You're right (3.00 / 2) (#53)
by thankyougustad on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 01:43:07 PM EST

In fact, you should be put in charge of killing those people. You want them dead, you fucking kill them yourself.

No no thanks no
Je n'aime que le bourbon
no no thanks no
c'est une affaire de goût.

[ Parent ]
i would do it (none / 1) (#67)
by circletimessquare on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 03:56:10 PM EST

and i wouldn't lose a wink of sleep

why are you so naive? why does your idealism overwhelm your faculties?

we are human beings, we are not infallible

WE MAKE MISTAKES

WE ARE NOT GODS

we will always, FOREVER, kill innocent people in the pursuit of justice

FOREVER

make peace with that fact, unless you think not pursuing justice is somehow a superior choice


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

[ Parent ]

/ns (none / 0) (#139)
by IceTitan on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 01:45:07 AM EST

"WE ARE NOT GODS"

I am, so I can kill.
Nuke 'em from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.
[ Parent ]

yes, I can see (none / 0) (#233)
by thankyougustad on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 07:41:18 PM EST

that someone who could kill blithly and not loose a 'wink of sleep' is a great champion for humankind. The sympathy you so clearly feel for the victims of violent crimes manifests itself radiantly in your statements.

No no thanks no
Je n'aime que le bourbon
no no thanks no
c'est une affaire de goût.

[ Parent ]
damn straight (none / 1) (#77)
by mpalczew on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 05:39:24 PM EST

<blockquote>it's good to see someone out there take a brave stand in defense of murderers, violent pedophiles, sadistic rapists, serial killers, spree killers, homicidal maniacs, and the like
</blockquote>

Well one of those in there doesn't have to worry about the death penalty.  The others can simply be put under the category of murderers.

<blockquote>
you know, other problems which might relieve the suffering of INNOCENT people
</blockquote>

Because we know that there are no innocents on death row.

You sound like you like the death penalty, but give no rational reason and hint at an emotional one.
-- Death to all Fanatics!
[ Parent ]

it's not about deterence, it's not about revenge (none / 1) (#80)
by circletimessquare on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 06:20:40 PM EST

it's about fairness

if you use your free will to deny the free will of others (such as robbery), then your free will should be denied as well (imprisonment), correct?

this is what justice is, no?

is justice a fancy word for revenge or is it a principle you really understand?

now, if you use your free will to deny the right to life, then your right to life should be denied as well?

no? oyu say if i deny you your right to live, then i should be denied my right to free will only?

is that justice?

you say there are innocents on death row?

i agree 100% with you

society, in the pursuit of justice, will hurt innocents

so in your mind, the pursuit of justice is LESS IMPORTANT than the fact we make mistakes

in my mind the pursuit of justice is MORE IMPORTANT than the fact we make mistakes

in other words, i don't deny we hurt innocents in the pursuit of justice, i say to you, with a clear conscience, that we hurt innocents in the pursuit of justice AND WE ALWAYS WILL BECAUSE WE'RE IMPERFECT HUMAN BEINGS

but i have made peace with that fact

how come you haven't?

idealism? naivete?

how does that help the pursuit of justice?

how cna your conscience be clean if you think the pursuit of justice is less important that the expectation that humanity be perfect and infallible first?

if

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

[ Parent ]

flawed reasoning (none / 0) (#81)
by mpalczew on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 06:40:02 PM EST

by your reasoning

This implies that a rapists punishment should be state rape.  After all that would be justice.

The punishment for battery, should be state sanctioned battery.  

The punishment for prostitution .  .  . would be to force you to move into an undesirable neighborhood.

The punishment for drug dealing to kids should be that the persons kids will be forced to use drugs.

robery could be simply handled by civil courts.

>  in other words, i don't deny we hurt innocents in the pursuit of justice,

simply because the death penalty is the MOST irreversible punishment, and it is pointless and unneccessarilly cruel.  

>is justice a fancy word for revenge or is it a principle you really understand?

I could ask you the same question.

I stand against the death penalty on both philophical grounds.  I don't really see the point, just seams like a form of revenge.

I also stand against it on practical grounds with all the problems the death penalty and generally justice in the us is troubled by.  Innocents are frequently convicted and minorities are more likely to get the death penalty for the same crimes.
-- Death to all Fanatics!
[ Parent ]

corrections (none / 1) (#84)
by circletimessquare on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 06:56:17 PM EST

removing someone else's free will should be punished by removing the criminal's free will, as i initially stated, directly contradicting your attempt to railroad me as a simple eye-for-an-eye revenge type

now, removing someone else's life though is a step beyond simply removing free will... how did you put it so eloquently?: "simply because the death penalty is the MOST irreversible punishment, and it is pointless and unneccessarilly cruel."

that's very nice of you to have that empathy and insight

so what do you have to say about people who murder people again?

because you should rethink your position: you say you are against the death penality, but your logic is flawed, as you have everything to say about it's repugnance when the state commits it... but you are conveniently silent on the issue when some asshole does it

is this the root of your much vaunted and superior understanding of justice than mine then?

where is your righteous indignation about that asshole who murdered someone? why do you only reserve it for the state?

or... how did you put it again?: "I stand against the death penalty on both philophical grounds.  I don't really see the point, just seams like a form of revenge."

oh ok, so what should society do to make sure that your view is enforced, becaus ei agree with you about those assholes who murder people... right, you with me on condemning murdering assholes? or are you still stuck on your indignation about the state, and not the asshole individuals who commit the horrible act you have so eloquently decalred your repugnance of? you're not going to be a hypocrit about it, right?

when an individual removes someone else's life, they do so for all of the reasons you deplore, right?

when the state removes someone else's life, there are safeguards in place such that the penality is done fairly, as applied, with a record of why and a trial to ensure the soundness of the decision, right?

or, i'm sorry, you're still stuck on the state doing that under those conditions... but you have no problem with some asshole doing it on the street for random reasons?

which brings us to the last issue:

"Innocents are frequently convicted and minorities are more likely to get the death penalty for the same crimes. "

well said, i agree with you 100%

let's make sure this doesn't happen, let's fix the system

but your solution is to not fix the system, your solution is to AVOID the problem by changing your very understanding of the nature of justice in the first place!

how does that work in your mind?!

because it doesn't work in reality


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

[ Parent ]

pigeon holing justice. (none / 0) (#177)
by mpalczew on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 12:29:01 PM EST

> now, removing someone else's life though is a step beyond simply removing free will.

Yes, and battery removes more than someone's free will because it hurts someone.  

>is this the root of your much vaunted and superior understanding of justice than mine then?

I believe that we have a different understanding of it.  Neither is superior.  

Then there are all the crimes that don't remove anyones freewill but people still get punished for them(drug use, prostitution, child neglect, indecent exposure, etc. . .)  

By your definition of justice, no jail time should be served for any of these.  I'm also one of those funny people that believes that the primary focus of jail for those who will be released should be about rehabilitation, not punishment. The state should not be in the business of punishment but rather in the business of lowering crime.

As for those that are deamed unrehabilitable,  lifetime solitary seams like a better option. I think murder is bad no matter who does it, and I haven't heard of any convicing reason for the state to do kill people.

-- Death to all Fanatics!
[ Parent ]

simplification (none / 0) (#216)
by anthroporraistes on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 06:20:35 PM EST

Can't we just simplfy this, and say that murder is wrong, no matter who does it, state or individual.  We cannot stop the individual from being a murder (being that we catch them after-the-fact), but we, as the state, can stop ourselves from being a murderer, it is within our power.

Now the only implied premise is this: two wrongs don't make a right.  Which, while cliche, seems to be a truism.  

What I don't understand in your POV, though, is your main premise, I find it flawed.  I might not understand the underlying logic though.  If, using free will, I deny someone else theirs, then how does it follow that the state has the right to deny mine?  There is a gap I'm missing.  The state  cannot deprive free will, except by death, since even in prison you have a modicum of it.  So, thus following that logic EVERYTHING should be a capital offence.  That aside, though, what right does the state have in being as bad as a criminal.  It doens't seem like justice, it seems like pety revenge, which actually serves no practical good to society as a whole, besides making it into a bad guy itself.

---
biology is destiny
[ Parent ]

Translation: (1.50 / 2) (#155)
by pwhysall on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 07:22:53 AM EST

blah blah blah string 'em up blah blah so what if we execute a few innocent people blah blah you're a shitstain blah blah.
--
Peter
K5 Editors
I'm going to wager that the story keeps getting dumped because it is a steaming pile of badly formatted fool-meme.
CheeseBurgerBrown
[ Parent ]
Groan... (none / 1) (#32)
by haplopeart on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 11:27:58 AM EST

...The death Penalty is a good thing, its just administered badly (like just about everything the US government(Federal and Local) has its hands in...

People should NOT be on death row for the insane amounts of time.  I understand the need in the legal system for appeals.  However the impending date of execution clock should be set when they are convicted for a NEAR term date.  We waste so much money on these people who's lives are totally useless.  We spend more money on someone who is to be executed than on someone we improssion for life...its crazy.
Bill "Haplo Peart" Dunn
Administrator Epithna.com
http://www.epithna.com

this gives me an idea (3.00 / 2) (#38)
by Benny Cemoli on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 12:12:42 PM EST

We can outsource the administration of the death penalty to private firms, which can certainly do the job more efficiently.

We already outsource some prison administration, as well as other domestic security roles. We could easily put the execution of entire groups of death-row prisoners up for bid.

I don't know about you, but I'm thinking this could be the next big hit reality series. Talk about getting voted off the island!

To take it a step further, we could outsource the entire judicial system (which is spectacularly inefficient) and put it out into the private sector on a competetive basis. Justice would be meted out swiftly and efficiently and our tax rates would plummet.

It's a win-win! We could even send a lot of this work down to Mexico or over to India, where judges and lawyers work for substantially less than in the US.


"the fabric of space quivers at the touch of even a microbe."
[ Parent ]

No (none / 1) (#41)
by zorba77 on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 12:20:04 PM EST

That is typical liberal logic, flawed and always delving into theory rather than fact.
Return the West Coast to the Tribes of sasquatch!
[ Parent ]
is it not practical? (none / 0) (#47)
by Benny Cemoli on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 12:40:00 PM EST

You should see the taxes I pay. A little tax relief is in order here, and I think this outsourcing scheme is eminently practical.

How is it "liberal" in any way?


"the fabric of space quivers at the touch of even a microbe."
[ Parent ]

the liberal is where (none / 1) (#48)
by zorba77 on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 12:49:41 PM EST

you ignore the reality of it and purpose an idiotic idea to get a subliminal jab at the right wing.
Return the West Coast to the Tribes of sasquatch!
[ Parent ]
How is it ridiculous? (none / 1) (#50)
by aphrael on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 01:06:43 PM EST

I know some libertarians who would be broadly in favor of such a proposal. What makes outsourcing the running of prisons - or worse, the medical care in prisons (there's a harrowing NYT series on this issue this week) reasonable but the outsourcing of executions or of judicial decision-making not? As far as I can tell it's an arbitrary line in the sand justified by "because we said so".

[ Parent ]
How about (none / 0) (#52)
by Benny Cemoli on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 01:15:04 PM EST

You stick to the substance of my comments and deal with them, as opposed to making up and bouncing around fanciful strawmen in your own fervid imagination?


"the fabric of space quivers at the touch of even a microbe."
[ Parent ]

the death penalty should be abolished (2.37 / 8) (#37)
by army of phred on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 12:10:04 PM EST

except in texas. you can never kill enough texans.

"Republicans are evil." lildebbie
"I have no fucking clue what I'm talking about." motormachinemercenary
"my wife is getting a blowjob" ghostoft1ber
I generally agree (none / 1) (#49)
by mikepence on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 01:03:22 PM EST

I applaud the decision, but the reasoning used to arrive at it -- at least as it was described on NPR -- sounded deeply flawed to me.

Well here is where I came to understand. (2.33 / 3) (#51)
by mpalczew on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 01:14:58 PM EST

From what I can tell is that this is about cruel and unusual punishment.  I would agree with the court that executing minors is cruel and unusual.  Though I think that the death penalty itself is cruel and unusual.  

Here's a quite from salon.com

"To decide what is cruel and unusual you don't look at what was happening 200 years ago. You look at evolving standards of decency. In that specific area, what is going on in the rest of the world is relevant," said Stephen Harper, an expert on juvenile law at the University of Miami.

well, I guess it makes sense.  If the us was practicing a form of punishment that was unique to the states.  It would certainly be unusual.  Nobody can argue with the fact that the death penalty is not cruel(though some will say that the people deserve it). Since the supreme court rules over the united states it absolutly has to look abroad to determine what is unusual.  
-- Death to all Fanatics!

Thank you. (2.66 / 3) (#57)
by Kasreyn on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 02:01:32 PM EST

I've been wanting to say that, but you nailed it better than I probably would have.

There seem to me to be ample reasons to strike down the death penalty simply on its own (lack of) merits. It shouldn't be necessary to invent some cockamamie principle of state consensus to get it done.


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
+1, FP (none / 1) (#64)
by alevin on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 03:35:55 PM EST

Move to vote.
--
alevin
i'm all for expanding the death penalty (2.00 / 11) (#71)
by circletimessquare on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 04:21:25 PM EST

do you want to talk international standards?

in thailand, they execute drug smugglers

in china, they execute financial criminals

i'm all for it

could someone please explain to me a rationale in which people who hurt society at large in such a way that is out of proportion to the value of their life, should still remain alive?

it's not about deterence

it's not about revenge

it's simply about fairness

if you derive personal or financial benefit off of causing pain to society: destroying retirement funds, creating heroin addicts, etc., then i fail to see why society should continue to respect your right to live

no, really

could someone explain and rationalize to me the value in allowing people who in clear conscience, who know their efforts hurt society, and still choose to hurt society, should remain alive, if their crimes pass a certian threshold of demonstrable negative effect on society?

i'm dead serious, i want to see heads roll, literally, over something like enron in the usa

oh, and btw:

televise it

some people honestly believe they can live lives that hurt society at large and think it's ok

show them that society has a right to defend itself

televise the execution of criminals

and not for deterence, but to reinforce people's faith that their society is strong, not weak, and that it will defend itself against elements which seek to destroy it or parasitize it in such a way that many are hurt

it's all about free will

and if you take your free will and, in clear conscience, seek to destroy the free will of lots of others, well then society should deny you your free will, and past a certain threshold, it should deny you your life

i'm being 100% honest, i think the death penalty should be expanded

and i don't understand people who wring their hands over the rights and free will of those who hurt society, and pay no attention to the rights and free will of those who are hurt by criminals

where your priorities?


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

restitution should be a priority (none / 0) (#82)
by j1mmy on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 06:42:18 PM EST

you gave the example of financial criminals. a better way to punish them might be to force them to pay back every penny they stole/squandered/whatever.

take enron. billions were lost by many people. this was the result of actions by a few people. those few people should owe the many people x billion dollars, due immediately. can't repay it immediately? repay it in the future with interest. realistically, the criminals may never be able to pay back the total amount. the purpose of this is that the victims see some compensation for what they lost. the criminals just get to suffer for the rest of their lives, burdened by debt they have no hope of escaping.

except by killing themselves. it would be far cheaper to drive these people to suicide than it would be to try and sentence them to death, keep them on death row for however long, go through one or many appeals, and so on.

[ Parent ]

in reality (none / 0) (#87)
by circletimessquare on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 07:44:02 PM EST

there might not be any money to get, it could be all squandered, or only a tenth of what was embezzled remaining after all sales of properties, reclamation of accounts, etc.

how do you reclaim $1 million from a guy who spent $1 million on a party? how do you tell the caterer to give the money back? how do you get the confetti back? how do you get the champagne in the fountain back?

and furthermore, how do you expect a disgraced ceo to get a job anywhere except at the mcdonald's register?

how many millions of lifetimes of "you want fries with that?" until the debt is paid off?

it's impossible to reclaim HALF the money in most cases

so just kill the motherfucker already


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

[ Parent ]

other jobs (none / 0) (#88)
by aphrael on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 07:57:22 PM EST

how do you expect a disgraced ceo to get a job anywhere except at the mcdonald's register?

Hah. That explains why Carly Fiorina, the fired boss of HP, is under consideration to head the World Bank.

Disgraced CEOS can almost always get other CEO jobs. The disgrace seems to vanish into the either, explained away or forgotten by the good-old-corporate-boys network.

[ Parent ]

*smacks forehead* (none / 0) (#91)
by circletimessquare on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 08:15:48 PM EST

what is the difference in your mind between fiorina, who was heading a company that was underperforming financially and so was dismissed to no shame (it's a hard job, and the underperformance could reflect things beyond her control)

and someone like ebbers who flagrantly and purposely messes with the financials to make the value of the company inflated well beyond reality for a long time like some sort of pyramid scheme, thus destroying billions of dollars of investment, some of it humble modest individual investors, that normally would have gone to other companies?

one act is POSSIBLY not doing your job well

the other is DEFINITELY criminal


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

[ Parent ]

and you are certain (none / 0) (#92)
by aphrael on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 08:22:36 PM EST

that ebbers won't be able to find employment? just like, say, michael milkin wasn't when he got out of jail?

[ Parent ]
is michael milken (none / 0) (#97)
by circletimessquare on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 08:33:18 PM EST

making millions a year?

is anyone making him repay?

no and no

the whole point is they made so much BECAUSE they were doing illegal things

simple logic dictates they can't make that same money again, unless they commit the crime again

and you are assuming they would make a good faith effort to make more money again

and you are assuming they would be a celebrity reincarnated forgiven criminal

so, i will grant you the remote possibility someone could get out of jail, and be happy enough and lucky enough to make all the money back that they owe

is such a remote possibility the basis for your superior understanding of justice over my take?


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

[ Parent ]

no. (none / 0) (#99)
by aphrael on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 08:41:03 PM EST

the basis for my sense of justice is that it is immoral to kill people. whether it's the state doing it, an angry individual doing it, or a crack addict doing it. It's irrelevant *who* commits the act. The act is wrong.

[ Parent ]
how does your sense of justice work (none / 0) (#101)
by circletimessquare on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 08:54:29 PM EST

without consequences?


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

[ Parent ]
death as a consequence (none / 0) (#144)
by adiffer on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 02:24:14 AM EST

You don't need to be able to kill someone to be able to threaten consequences for bad behavior.  

I've heard more than one judge say that a life sentence can actually be worse (in the cruel and unusual sense) than a death penalty because in some prison systems, informal torture of prisoners by prisoners is permitted through the inaction of those running the systems.
-Dream Big. --Grow Up.
[ Parent ]

bankruptcy laws (none / 0) (#145)
by adiffer on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 02:34:29 AM EST

Be careful.  Bankruptcy laws exist for a reason.

Innovation in our economic institutions requires the ability to take risks.  Start killing those who take risks and we will grind to a halt.  Start killing those guilty of fraud and you'll have to be REAL careful with the definition of fraud.

If I start a business, overstate my capabilities, and loose the money my investors put in am I guilty of enough fraud to be worthy of a death sentence?  If I intentionally overstate my abilities it is different than if I do it in ignorance, isn't it?  Have fun defining that VERY fine line.

Besides...  if you take my money from me should I be able to turn to the State and ask for your execution?  That's even softer than what we currently allow for capital punishment, so it makes much less sense.  I don't care that other countries might permit such executions.  We shouldn't.
-Dream Big. --Grow Up.
[ Parent ]

the death penalty weakens civil society (none / 1) (#94)
by the ghost of rmg on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 08:23:55 PM EST

by juxtaposing the violence of the criminal with the violence of the state. it's much worse when applied to non-violent criminals like those you mention. then the state is perceived as arbitrary and tyrannical, without a proper respect for life. it destroys the concept of delinquency that post-enlightenment jurisprudence is based upon.

haven't you ever wondered why southeast asia is such a backwards place?


rmg: comments better than yours.
[ Parent ]

southeast asia is backwards? (none / 0) (#100)
by circletimessquare on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 08:50:45 PM EST

i did not know that

please, go to bangkok and inform them that they are backwards, and how forgiving heroin smugglers will turn them into a prosperous and just society... like europe?

let me know how far that ethnocentric condescension takes you

i'm certain there would be many there who would happily have some quick pointers as to why THEY are more just than europe, and, considering eployment trends in europe and employment trends in thailand based on the chinese models that thailand is currently embracing, that THEY are more prosperous

believe it or not, dorothy, you might be surprised to find out that the rest of the world does not view the last few decades in europe (or the decades and centuries before that, for that matter) to be some sort of pinnacle of justice. what was your notion? that killing financial and narcotics criminals "destroys the concept of delinquency that post-enlightenment jurisprudence is based upon"

well excuse me if they might find that entirely laughable

they may even have some handy examples from recent world events to back up their premise that "the concept of delinquency that post-enlightenment jurisprudence is based upon" DOESN'T FUCKING WORK

imagine that!

imagine: some people don't think the world revolves around the west!

indeed! is such a concept even possible!

(snicker)

i'm so glad though that your sound understanding of justice relies so heavliy on your ethnocentric bias, it surely must make for a simple world that you live in, and it is truly a forceful basis on which you can humble my wayward understanding of justice, oh how i have been shamed (pfft)

other people, like me, think that just perhaps, just maybe, the west simply has no more backbone

that an understanding of justice requires, first and foremost, the punishment of criminals

but don't mind me, i'm just a wackjob for thinking that, you know, i'm way out there- punishing criminals harshly! gasp i'm so nutty!

clearly i'm in the minority in the world

so you go back to fretting over the conjugal rights of rapists and the cable television offerings that murderers enjoy, you know, the concerns of someone concerned about elements of justice that really matter, pay me no mind, i don't matter

truly, your understanding of justice is so much more "enlightened" than mine

...

watch and learn as history unfolds in the next few decades friend

and watch the backlash to the soft west the world has in store in the next few decades

watch and learn friend, and tell me what justice really means

the turht is, the world has a lot to teach the west, and the west has no more to teach the world, except how empty people can become

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

[ Parent ]

been there. (none / 0) (#104)
by the ghost of rmg on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 09:09:40 PM EST

backwards.


rmg: comments better than yours.
[ Parent ]
this is how your mind works: (none / 1) (#108)
by circletimessquare on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 10:02:12 PM EST

different than west = backwards

you're ethnocentric

i didn't know that forward thinking = suvs and starbucks

if you continue thinking that the west is the pinaacle of the world, then you are revealing something about yourself that makes you irrelevant to the issue at hand:

"justice"


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

[ Parent ]

you have a medieval understanding of justice. (none / 0) (#112)
by the ghost of rmg on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 10:22:41 PM EST

interestingly, your favorite countries, the ones that practice your kind of justice, are in a medieval state as well. i can't help but think there's a causal relationship there.


rmg: comments better than yours.
[ Parent ]
the west is empty (none / 0) (#129)
by circletimessquare on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 11:49:53 PM EST

what you see as backward and medieval is more common sense than the everything is relative nonsense you call superior, but is really nothing more than the dead end glimmer of a nihilistic reaction to the horrors europe has visited upon the world in the last few centuries, culminating in some real joy in the last one in particular

no, the west has nothing to teach the world

the world meanwhile, has a lot to teach the west

the next few decades should be interesting and eye opening for you

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

[ Parent ]

oh god, more of this anti-american tripe. (none / 1) (#132)
by the ghost of rmg on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 12:17:40 AM EST

horrors europe has visited on the world in the past few centuries:
  1. electricity.
  2. running water.
  3. modern agriculture.
  4. democracy.
  5. modern medicine.
  6. capitalism.
  7. industry.
  8. technology.
  9. freedom.
yet "when the native sees he is not an animal, he sharpens his spear" or whatever the hell that nutter fanon had to say about it. i suggest you find another audience for your multiculturalist claptrap.


rmg: comments better than yours.
[ Parent ]
so understanding, so open-minded ;-P (none / 0) (#135)
by circletimessquare on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 01:10:00 AM EST

why, you sound ripe to join the likes of the uneducated capital punishment celebrating masses like myself

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

[ Parent ]
+3, bashes Fanon (none / 0) (#136)
by Battle Troll on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 01:10:10 AM EST

My edition of Fanon is introduced by Sartre. Fucking French.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
somebody slap me... (none / 0) (#113)
by Battle Troll on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 10:22:54 PM EST

Quick, cts, where would you rather be framed as a drug smuggler by a corrupt policeman and his lowlife cronies, Germany or Singapore?

If that doesn't work, consider the origins of the expression 'judicial murder,' and how much worse it is than the other kind.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]

how does ethnocentric condescension (none / 0) (#119)
by circletimessquare on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 10:54:19 PM EST

advance the superiority of your understanding of justice?

as for corrupt policemen, you think singapore has a monopoly on that and singapore has none?

wait a second...

that's funny you bring that up actually!

because according to some, we should do away with the death penalty because we will occasionally put an innocent to death

therefore, the entire notion of capital punishment is suspect

so according to that logic, since the police can be corrupt and fail to be impartial, we should do away with the police too!

i understand justice now!

thank you, thank you, for expanding my mind

truly, justice has taken on new meaning for me

nevermind the idea that we FIGHT TO FIX THE SYSTEM AND GET RID OF THE BAD COPS

who would think that is worth pursuing!

no, no, according to your superior understanding of justice, clearly, it's superior to FUCKING CHANGE THE NOTION OF JUSTICE ITSELF

you fucking retarded shitstains...


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

[ Parent ]

oh and (none / 0) (#115)
by Battle Troll on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 10:27:10 PM EST

Moreover, he wasn't arguing prisoner rights. I would imagine that, as a good Foucauldian, rmg's revenant was arguing for the medicalization, stigmatization, isolation, and making miserable of prisoners that is characteristic of the Enlightenment concept of punishment, as expressed in Bentham's panopticon.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
my, big words (none / 0) (#121)
by circletimessquare on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 10:59:15 PM EST

do you feel smart that you know big words but fail on the fundamental concepts?

it's nice the chatter of pretty words can so effectively cloud your ability to understand common sense, and fill you with a sense of superiority

i'm that glad works for you

you're a fucking poster child of how education = indoctrination you know that?

so please, let us know when your mind is open again

because heaven forbid your ivory tower of pretty words should fail you in the pursuit of truth

no, that could never to pass

(snicker)


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

[ Parent ]

at least I use pretty words to say nothing (none / 0) (#122)
by Battle Troll on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 11:13:54 PM EST

Rather than all of your ugly ones.

OK, I'll simplify it so that you can understand. Killing criminals makes the state a killer, and people only like that if they think that the people the state kills really needed killing. In some societies, some crimes are so serious and dangerous to family life that people really like it when the state kills those criminals. In other societies, killing criminals would be counterproductive unpopular a bad idea. If they dragged Ken Lay out into the street and shot him, it would be bad for America, because public opinion doesn't accept financial crimes to be sufficiently serious think that people should get shot for stealing unless you do it with a gun. That's why you're punished more for sticking up a liquor store for $500 than for embezzling $10,000, because in liquor store robberies people get shot.

In the PRC, public opinion may accept executing con men; it's hard to say, because in the PRC, public opinion in the modern Western sense is just getting started. (It's more like France under Napoleon than Russia under Stalin, which is progress, of course.) The mainland Chinese press isn't free enough for us to tell. In Taiwan, they save the death penalty for violent criminals, just like Texas.

Anyhoo, Foucault was saying that state violence function best if it's less than lethal. He said that, if you humiliate and isolate prisoners, you'll make it so that no-one wants to go to jail, but if you execute people you tend to make heroes of them, even if they're jerks. (Cf the Chechens for a great example of that.)

I'm sorry if dramatic counterexamples like Chechnya, the IRA, the Afghani Mujahedin, and for that matter the FARC (which is basically its own country now) don't impress you. I guess if I wanted to really impress you, I'd find the son of an American diplomat and beat his ass.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]

wtf?! BWAHAHAHAHA (none / 0) (#126)
by circletimessquare on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 11:45:14 PM EST

"at least I use pretty words to say nothing... Rather than all of your ugly ones"

i'll take it you MEANT to say

"at least I use pretty words to say something... Rather than all of your ugly ones"

ok, fine, i mess up word choice all the time, so i won't hold the misspeak against you...

but then we get to...

"I'd find the son of an American diplomat and beat his ass"

is that an example of your ugly words?

;-P

as for the substance of your remarks:

you cite "dramatic counterexamples" of the folly of a hardline state

Chechnya: to me, that's an independence movement that uses terror tactics... what is it to you? a strike on the soviet gulag system? to you are fundamentalist chechens are out fighting to free solzhenitsyn?

IRA: to me, that's a terrorist movement fighting for a unified ireland... what is it to you? a strike on the horrible oppressive edicts and principles of english common law and the magna carta?

Afghani Mujahedin: that's fundamentalist islam framed against soviet occupation, which is an interesting example for you to cite as a "dramatic counterexample" considering their interpretation of sharia law once they got in power

FARC: that's narcoterrorism... what is that to you? brave columbians fighting the monroe doctrine?

you come to me saying you have a superior understanding of justice, and yet all of your thinking is so wrapped up in questions of nationalism, you strike me as someone confused

you do not have a superior understanding of justice than me

what you have is a very western-centric worldview

watch and learn friend, watch and learn

you do not have anything to teach

nonwesterners have a lot to teach you

and its funny you should posit me as someone on a sinking ship fo western folly

when it seems it is your ship that is sinking, and me very much in tune with nonwestern thought

enjoy the next few decades, they should be very eye opening for oyu, considering the way the pendulum is working in the world on the notion of "justice"

;-)


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

[ Parent ]

ugh, again (none / 0) (#133)
by Battle Troll on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 12:49:42 AM EST

to you are fundamentalist chechens are out fighting to free solzhenitsyn?

The Chechens were radicalized by Russian terror. They didn't have an Islamic identity, much less AQ in-country and enmeshed with the government, prior to '95 at the earliest. I have argued on this site that the Russian terror was quite rational and understandable from the Russian perspective, but it's pretty clear that it has hurt the Russian cause. It made heroes out of terrorists.

what is it to you? a strike on the horrible oppressive edicts and principles of english common law and the magna carta?

The British are far more successful in handling the IRA today when they confronted them with paratroopers. Compare Irish violence ca. 2000 with that of the late 70's.

Afghani Mujahedin: that's fundamentalist islam framed against soviet occupation, which is an interesting example for you to cite as a "dramatic counterexample" considering their interpretation of sharia law once they got in power

There was no Mujahedin prior to the Soviet invasion. The brutality of the Soviet invasion and occupation was the midwife of modern international Islamic terror.

FARC: that's narcoterrorism... what is that to you? brave columbians fighting the monroe doctrine?

What distinguishes the FARC from the Medellín cartel is that the FARC commands widespread popular support. Many Columbians do see than as freedom fighters (or at least an alternative to government violence.)

I'm a bit of a hawk, myself, and I hope I'm enough of a realist see that brutal force is sometimes the coin of practical politics. But Foucault was right to say that overusing it was both easily and often done, and that it sometimes destabilizes the very states that use it for stability.

you come to me saying you have a superior understanding of justice, and yet all of your thinking is so wrapped up in questions of nationalism, you strike me as someone confused

No wonder I seem confused - you completely missed both the thrust of my argument and the point of every one of my examples. It's not because you're stupid, it's because you get off on not needing to read carefully (because I'm a drivelling shitstain, I guess.)

nonwesterners have a lot to teach you

'Nonwesterners' as a group don't exist. Your statement is meaningless. Specific cultures have specific things to offer, but what Western culture has to offer is a functional model of civil society in a culture of leisure and plenitude. This is why Westernization - of a very specific sort - goes hand in hand with prosperity: you can't run a modern industrial economy on feudal or despotic principles, and it's foolish to try (as North Korea demonstrates.) [If nothing else, no country is both resource- and manufacturing-self-sufficient, and if you get too violent or life gets too cheap, it hurts foreign trade.] Anyway, one of the West's effective social technologies, developed over hundreds of years of trial and error, is that of the State's abstention from direct violence against its own citizens except under circumstances so extreme as to render this violence acceptable to the average peaceful person. You can either admit that and move on to talk about specific justifications in SE Asia, or you can bubble and fume as you usually do.

Consider that in modern Japan, there are about five people executed every year, and there was a period of abolition in the early 90's. Contrast that with Japan 150 years ago. In the pre-industrial age, all countries maintained order by extreme violence, including such things as the horrific tortures prescribed under feudal Chinese law for routine interrogations. In a prosperous industrial society, such a degree of violence is not sensible or useful, and catalyzes resistance to the state.

is that an example of your ugly words?

I was talking down to you, son. HTH.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]

i did completely miss your point (none / 0) (#143)
by circletimessquare on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 02:14:43 AM EST

we were talking about the death penalty, and you're rambling on and on about the folly of imperialism

blah blah blah foucault blah blah

zzz...

wake me up when you're ready to talk down to me again, i don't want to miss it


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

[ Parent ]

hello, wall (none / 0) (#152)
by Battle Troll on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 03:26:13 AM EST

I'm talking about state violence in general. It is a continuum: the Chechnya crisis didn't start out as open warfare. And if you're trying to tell me that the success of the FARC insurgency demonstrates the folly of imperialism, you are out of your mind. (Whose against whom?)

Allow me to literally draw you a diagram:

widespread state violence --> weakened state legitimacy --> nuts starting insurgencies --> savage reprisals --> terrorists become heroes in public eye --> the mess we're in now.

Not that any of this matters anyway, because your worrisome fantasies of a neofascist Asia in which Judge Dredd guns down street punks to cheering crowds are in no danger of coming true; but limiting the death penalty is, like limiting other forms of state violence, a prerequisite for democratic stability. The state is made up of people. The fear of state-ordered execution is less socially useful than a non-violent society.

The proof of this is, as I said, that states like Japan, France, and the USA - the winner countries of history - execute very few people. You don't have to like it.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]

Don't underestimate Thaksin! (none / 1) (#162)
by daani on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 09:25:59 AM EST

Not that any of this matters anyway, because your worrisome fantasies of a neofascist Asia in which Judge Dredd guns down street punks to cheering crowds are in no danger of coming true

Prime minister Thaksin (Thailand) is working on it. At one point a heck of a lot of small-time drug dealers were getting shot by "rival drug gangs".

http://news.google.com.au/news?hl=en&lr=&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mo zilla%3Aen-US%3Aofficial&tab=wn&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=thaksin+extrajudicia l+war+on+drugs&btnG=Search+News



[ Parent ]
you're a bigot (none / 0) (#247)
by circletimessquare on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 12:15:41 AM EST

you really are

you got this narrow-minded set view of the evolution of society, and you think it culminates in some sort of textbook you've been reading

you think history has ended or something

you got this set closed-minded framework you look at the world through and the concept never dawns on you that the ground is shifting beneath your feet

i need not argue with you, i need only be content in knowing what it will be like in your mind for the next few decades: the building quiet desperation of someone like you as you watch the next few decades unfurl

and oyu come to realize more about essential human nature which you haven't even become aware of

some are aware of it, but haven't made peace with it

you? no, your'e not living in denial of these facets of human nature, you're simply ignorant of their existence

enjoy your life

you'll be under increasing pressure to understand how some things you see as pinned down in society really are not

you'll think of me again, long after i have forgotten about you

you'll come to see where i am coming from


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

[ Parent ]

I would explain it to you (1.83 / 6) (#102)
by GreyGhost on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 09:03:19 PM EST

But you have proven time and again to be a huge cock monkey...so I think I'll just tell you to go fuck yourself.



[ Parent ]

ah sweet condescension (1.50 / 2) (#109)
by circletimessquare on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 10:03:42 PM EST

it has worked so well for the left, hasn't it?


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

[ Parent ]
This is not about left and right (none / 0) (#125)
by GreyGhost on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 11:39:51 PM EST

This is about the fact that I think you're kind of a dickhead and a little messed up in the head to judge by how much you hang out here. I have a lot of friends on both the left and the right.



[ Parent ]

i'm at work (none / 0) (#128)
by circletimessquare on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 11:46:41 PM EST

i code, i hang out on kuro5hin

so you could say i'm getting paid to be on k5 ;-P

do you know any other way to relieve work boredom?

at least my way keeps me social no?

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

[ Parent ]

um.. CTS (none / 1) (#151)
by WetherMan on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 03:23:22 AM EST

you live in NYC, therefore your on EST.

you posted this at 11:46pm EST.

if your at work at midnight on a wednesday, your either an idiot or a liar...

IE an Idiot would only be at work at this time if he had some serious project due soon. in which case you should never be thinking about wasting time on k5.

a liar... well that's obvious.

don't get me wrong, I think your entertaining, but come on dude.
---
fluorescent lights make me look like old hot dogs
[ Parent ]

It would be interesting if he responds to this. (none / 0) (#171)
by Mr.Surly on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 11:46:14 AM EST

But I think it unlikely.

[ Parent ]
Not true. (none / 1) (#239)
by aphrael on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 08:33:08 PM EST

There have been times in my life where I just let my natural sleep schedule take over and worked 8-10 hrs a day when I chose to do so. I was lucky enough to have a mode of employment which supported that.

I could quite commonly be found working at that hour during that part of my life.

[ Parent ]

oh sure (none / 0) (#248)
by WetherMan on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 01:51:30 AM EST

I don't disagree with that.

I'm a college student, and a CS student.  We keep the oddest hours imaginable.  Especially myself.  It's not uncommon for me to work from 8pm until 8am.  With said, you must remember the exact wording of CTS's statement.  He said, "at work", which is much different from the alternative statement, "working".  

The former implies a location, while the latter does not.  Even if it was a project FOR work, you would not use the term "at work" to say you were currently working on a project at home.  You would say you were "working".

~ wm
---
fluorescent lights make me look like old hot dogs
[ Parent ]

Depends... (none / 1) (#250)
by kraant on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 04:21:34 AM EST

Check out the first idiom listed here.
--
"kraant, open source guru" -- tumeric
Never In Our Names...
[ Parent ]
yea to be pedantic you're correct (none / 0) (#251)
by WetherMan on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 05:09:10 AM EST

but (and yes i know this line of inquiry is getting ridiculous), he said "at work", followed by an explanation of why this was an acceptable reason be such a prolific poster, IE he wastes time on his employer's dime, a case he's presented multiple times on this site over the years.

Also, that idiom is generally used along with an explanation as to what work's being done, ie, "i'm at work refining these sweet ninja skills".  If someone were to say they were "at work", the natural assumption is a location.

For instance, if you were on the phone (or on the internet with someone....), and said, "I'm at work", i'd hazard to guess most people would construe that as location.  If you said "I'm working", this doesn't imply location.

Ok this point about as belabored as a point can possibly be.

Personally, I'll be the first to admit I check this site far too often, my lurking time probably comes close to obsessive at times of boredom, near CTS, (but not nearly E R I C standards), and I'd rather hear CTS admit it rather than pawning it off on getting off on the employer's dime.
---
fluorescent lights make me look like old hot dogs
[ Parent ]

what the hell do you want me to admit? (none / 0) (#281)
by circletimessquare on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 04:44:08 PM EST

that i like hanging out at k5?

what the fuck is your problem?

i like k5, i hang out at k5, what am i supposed to be ashamed of?

now, can you admit something for me?

you're a fucking sycophant


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

[ Parent ]

easy killer (none / 0) (#290)
by WetherMan on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 07:45:00 PM EST

I'm just saying, there wasn't a really good reason to lie about it.

and I do find you humorous, in a 'laughing at you' sorta way, much like everyone else.
---
fluorescent lights make me look like old hot dogs
[ Parent ]

what the hell have i lied about asshole? (nt) (none / 0) (#294)
by circletimessquare on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 02:17:29 AM EST



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

[ Parent ]
hey fuck (none / 0) (#280)
by circletimessquare on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 04:40:35 PM EST

i work at the office, and from home, at all hours

glad to introduce you to the concept


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

[ Parent ]

i work part time (none / 0) (#279)
by circletimessquare on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 04:39:19 PM EST

i have frequently been at the office at 3 am

fuck the 9-5 life


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

[ Parent ]

*shrug* (none / 0) (#291)
by WetherMan on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 07:49:30 PM EST

YHWI

congrats mang.
---
fluorescent lights make me look like old hot dogs
[ Parent ]

Wrongful conviction is a big worry of mine (3.00 / 2) (#120)
by Vilim on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 10:58:29 PM EST

I am against the death penalty for murders because of the possibility that the people (of which I am a part) may execute someone that is innocent.

Here in Canada, there have been quite a few high profile wrongful convicitions, Clayton Johnson, Thomas Sophonow, Donald Marshall, David Milgaard, and Guy Paul Morin. All were originally convicted for murder, then released some years later.

But its only the Canadian police who make mistakes ... right?

If you execute people for financial crimes and drug trafficing the potential for executing innocents skyrockets. A crooked cop could _easily_ frame you for drug related charges and you wouldn't stand a chance

Also, the removal of the death penalty in Canada had absolutely no effect on murder rates, so at least in Canada. Deterrence is a non issue



[ Parent ]
you destroy justice for the sake of mental comfort (1.25 / 4) (#123)
by circletimessquare on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 11:21:47 PM EST

we will always, always, always, FOREVER kill innocent people by mistake in the pursuit of justice

we are human beings, we are not infallible

but that fact should not stop the pursuit of justice

your choice is between:

  1. pursuing justice, and maintaining the system as highly funtional as possible for something composed of human beings
  2. , altering your concept of justice, simply because you will not make peace with the essential fallibility of human beings
we will ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS FOREVER make horrible mistakes in the pursuit of justice

but that fact SHOULD NOT STOP YOU form the pursuit of justice

make peace with the fact we are human beings, not perfect gods

or does your naive idealism prevent you from the pursuit of justice?

we should do away with the death penalty because we will occasionally put an innocent to death? really?

where does altering the pursuit of justice stop then in your retreat form accepting human fallibility?

according to your logic, since the police can be corrupt and fail to be impartial, we should do away with the police too

is that justice?

well, the police can commit mistakes, no?

whatabout the idea that we FIGHT TO FIX THE SYSTEM AND GET RID OF THE BAD COPS

but according to your superior understanding of justice it's superior to FUCKING CHANGE THE NOTION OF JUSTICE ITSELF???!!!

where i come from is the fact that in this world there are ugly truths

and some like to tell themselves quiet lies, and they think that changes reality

some people have beliefs that depend upon quiet well-behaved lies in order to maintain those beliefs

but if i were to accept your request for example, that the pursuit of justice should be blunted, then all i have done is simply acceded to the wishes of your particular malformed psychology that allows you to maintain your false beliefs and relieve the cognitive dissonance in your mind because you have not yet made peace with ugly turths in this world

no

people like you need a loud "WAKE THE FUCK UP!" because you have glossed over some ugly truths of life with a veneer of pleasantry that allows the ugliness of the truth to disappear in your mind, but not in reality, where i am operating

i am operating on the PRIME OPERATING POINT OF THE VERY ESSENCE OF THE NOTION OF HUMAN JUSTICE

meanwhile, your concerns, perversely, has you worried MORE about the POSSIBLE innocence of mostly criminal assholes

in other words, I am not the one who is rude and loud in my beliefs as you might see me

no, instead, it is some unfortunate truths in life which are rude and loud

and those who sit in their ivory tower like you and think that ivory tower makes them protected from ugly truths while at the same time somehow also still relevant to ugly truths, well you need a wake up call

or is it you intend to shoot the messenger?

i tell you the world is ugly, that the delivery of justice and ugly, and you will not accept it, so i am to blame for adhering more to the point of justice, while you perversely swithc your concerns to the well-being of mostly criminals?

simply because you will not accept that the delivery of justice is imperfect?

make peace with the fact!

we are human beings!

WE WILL ALWAYS INCONVENIENCE THE INNOCENT IN THE PURSUIT OF THE GUILTY

WE WILL ALWAYS BE HARD AT WORK MAKING SURE THE SYSTEM INCONVENIENCES AS FEW AS POSSIBLE

MAKE PEACE WITH THAT FACT

because your perverse solution: alter the notion of justice itself to relieve your cognitive dissonance, is not a superior solution

you are in fact operating AGAINST the notion of justice

i'm down here in the mud, along with the rest of the suffering in this world, and i will not accede to the demands of those in their ivory towers of self-delusion that before i speak to them, that i also make believe, like them, that life is not a struggle, that it isn't ugly at times

life is also beautiful at times, so the onus is not on me, it is on you to admit the ugliness of life you have not admitted because you are living in an ivory tower, apart from victims of criminals in this world

your concern should be with relieving their suffering, not the suffering of the criminals

your idea and the idea of others like you of warping the notion of justice to serve their metnal comfort is bullshit

if i pierce their veil with the truth, i have won the argument, but if i submit the truth to their weak minded needs, i have lost the argument, because i have agreed with them that some truth is not ugly, when some truth in this world most definitely is ugly

if you say the pursuit of justice in this world can be quiet and well-behaved, there is no emotional weight to it, and so you have also removed the passion and urgency behind the issue as well, and therefore you have also removed your relevancy to the issue, you have removed the relevancy to the notion of justice itself

so people like you destroy the notion of justice for the sake of your mental comfort, regardless of the reality or the truth

you and people like you have to learn to make peace with ugly but unavoidable truths about reality and human nature, or basically your naivete works to do nothing but make things more unjust

you can have idealism on immovable unfortunate aspects of reality, or you can have justice, but you can't have both

i ask you not to sacrifice justice


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

[ Parent ]

Good rant dude! (3.00 / 2) (#160)
by Have A Nice Day on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 08:15:53 AM EST

ever heard of a reasonable balance between the pursuit of justice and liberty of the populace though?

I'm aware you're an absolutist and as such don't believe in balance (or criticism of the US), but I'd rather keep the perpetrators of the worst crimes in a high security prison for the rest of their natural lives, and pay my share of their upkeep, than risk being wrongly executed.

--------------
Have A Nice Day may have reentered the building.
[ Parent ]
ditto (none / 0) (#312)
by Flippant Chicken on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 09:34:54 AM EST

But, your system is more corrupt.  I find no problem with the fact that humans are imperfect.  Really it is the other way around, advocates of the death penalty are the one's who don't like to think of the imperfections of their judgment.  Those arguing against the death penalty accept human imperfection and are attempting to mitigate the cost.

If we assume that justice will be imperfectly applied; but we should constantly work on the improvement of the justice system, how do we proceed?  Would we not look for the injustice within the system and try to make changes which would minimize that injustice, while still serving the greater purpose?  When attempting to optimize any system, don't you look for the functions which produce negative results and attempt to improve them?

From this standpoint, I suggest that the application of the death penalty creates more injustice than justice.  I don't see a great difference in the amount of justice served by putting someone to death vs. locking them up for life.  But I see great injustice being done in the execution of innocents.  This is great injustice not only to the falsely accused, but to the victims as well, since it eliminates the chance that the truly guilty will face justice for the crime.

The death penalty serves vengeance more than justice.  This is the reality/truth you don't want to see.  And it is your idealistic view of justice which blinds you to it.

If justice will always be imperfectly applied, then there is no situation in which you will not sacrifice justice.  By suggesting otherwise, you show yourself to be the one living in some idealistic haze, not the reverse.

It is actually the death penalty which providing mental comfort to those who do not like to recognize that they, like the accused, are flawed.  While I have compassion for the victims and those impacted by crime, last I checked we live in a country where we have rights to life and justice, but not comfort.  In your world is justice really served by putting innocents to death and letting the guilty roam free, because it makes the victims feel better?

[ Parent ]

There's a difference between (none / 0) (#173)
by Kasreyn on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 11:56:04 AM EST

society ceasing to respect your right to live (which I would interpret as, ending police protection of your life from random murder), and society going out of its way to execute you.

Which did you mean, and why do you think the latter is justified?


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
[ Parent ]
Easy... (none / 0) (#185)
by Shajenko on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 01:36:43 PM EST

could someone please explain to me a rationale in which people who hurt society at large in such a way that is out of proportion to the value of their life, should still remain alive?
Simple. It's the same reason we don't nuke or invade China, or North Korea - the price we'd pay would be far too high.

North Korea needs to be dealt with in the harshest way possible? Maybe. You willing to pay for it, in the form of a smoking crater that used to be Seoul, or a possible nuclear detonation somewhere?

Same reason we don't just execute everybody. It might make the number of rapes go down if we made it a capital offense, but it would also make the number of rape/murders skyrocket. See, dead victims can't testify. Similarly, if you're facing the death penalty, might as well shoot at the cops when they come for you.

It's fairly simple: are you willing to pay for your vengeful desires with the lives of innocents?

[ Parent ]
Sure thing! (none / 0) (#223)
by evilmeow on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 06:52:10 PM EST

We should also close up the prisons and never put anyone in jail again - after all, if you put them in prison, they get out even more angry and do it again.

Now that I think of it, if someone attacks us, we should probably not respond with deadly force, after all, what's worse than pissing off your enemy, right? Right?!

There goes your "logic".

"[O]ne thing is certain: people are certifiably historically myopic"

[ Parent ]
Exactly (none / 0) (#289)
by Polverone on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 06:21:04 PM EST

When you imprison people who initially lack strong violent tendencies, and blithely accept that they're abused by other inmates (don't pick up the soap in the shower, hurr hurr hurr, prison rape is justice at its most hilarious), you've done worse than not imprisoning them at all. Their prison time is worse than useless. You can't shank, beat, and rape someone into becoming a productive, law-abiding citizen.

Some people need to be locked up; there's very little chance of rehabilitation under reasonable circumstances. A lot of people would be easier to reform if imprisonment never entered the picture, or if prisons were not such violent places. This is not an argument against imprisonment in the abstract, but it is an argument against the system of imprisonment actually in existence in the US.

The price paid for capital punishment in the US is the all too frequent death-sentencing of the wrong people. In the abstract, this is not an argument against the death penalty. In the system the US actually has, this is a strong argument against its application. Until/unless the system stops sentencing the wrong people to death, I don't think any death sentences should be carried out.
--
It's not a just, good idea; it's the law.
[ Parent ]

So what do you propose? (none / 0) (#295)
by evilmeow on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 06:20:04 AM EST

What do you propose to do with people that are convicted for non-violent crimes? Think identity theft, fraud. What do you propose to do with people who are convicted for violent crimes (e.g. aggravated assault) that doesn't warranty death penalty? Do you have an island to ship them off to? Yeah, prison is a bad idea. Probably a stupid idea when it comes to the real performance as well. But hey, so is democracy. Unless you have any better idea what to do with criminals - and I don't mean junkies, I mean criminals - why don't you avoid this argument?

I don't buy the wrongful conviction argument either. In absence of an adequate mechanism of reconditioning the convicted felons (see above), once someone's charged and found guilty with a capital crime wrongfully, how is it better to keep them in prison for years than keeping them in prison for years and then execute them? I don't think I can grasp the logic here. If an innocent person on the death row will spend years in appeals procedures and this and that, how is that different from an innocent person spending years in a high security prison doing exactly the same?

"Since you would be normally sentenced to death and we can't do that because the death sentence is cruel and unusual punishment, we'll just let you go. For all we know you might be innocent anyway because people who should be sentenced to death are likely to be wrongfully convicted anyway. Sorry for wasting your time with this whole arrest, investigation and murder charge thing, you can go home now."

The above sentencing is SO not happening in any courtroom if you prohibit the death penalty.

"[O]ne thing is certain: people are certifiably historically myopic"

[ Parent ]
Some alternatives (none / 0) (#302)
by Polverone on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 05:13:05 PM EST

For nonviolent crimes, use tracking/monitoring devices to limit range of movement, plus mandatory counseling and evaluation, plus restitution payments (treated somewhat like child support payments). It's more useful to have somebody pay back their victims for fraud or ID theft than it is for the victims to pay (indirectly -- taxes) for the prisoner to be confined. I realize that it may not be easy to get full restitution, but it's better than wasting even more money to punish the prisoner into becoming a hardened criminal.

The longer somebody innocent waits for their execution, the longer they have a chance to be cleared and live out some of their life in freedom. I realize you can't just ignore criminals charged with very serious crimes, but let's change "death by lethal injection" or what-have-you to "death by old age" so everybody has the longest possible chance to be cleared and the guilty still don't have opportunities to reoffend. As others have mentioned, life in prison would be a pretty good alternative to execution if it really meant that the only way you leave prison (short of new evidence showing your innocence) is in a coffin.
--
It's not a just, good idea; it's the law.
[ Parent ]

Wow... (none / 0) (#309)
by Shajenko on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 09:51:02 PM EST

We should also close up the prisons and never put anyone in jail again - after all, if you put them in prison, they get out even more angry and do it again.
You love to exaggerate, don't you?

My point is that if you institute a policy like Draco did (the term "Draconian" is named after him), and make every crime, no matter how trivial, punishable by death because you think the criminals deserve it, you're willingly putting a lot of people in danger just to satisfy your need for vengence. If somebody even accidentally commits a harmless crime, like failing to signal while changing lanes, they've suddenly become a lot more desperate.

Of course, maybe you'd like that. We could make executions a public event again. Think of the television ratings! We could have them slowly tortured to death in front of a studio audience. Plus we could film all police chases and sell them on PPV. The Romans knew the entertainment value of bloody death, and we're already in decline in the US. Why not just embrace our destiny and enjoy circling the drain?

[ Parent ]
Well, in Thailand, (none / 0) (#314)
by Isenphon on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 11:06:36 AM EST

You can buy a pre-teen's virginity for $10. Is this the kind of country you want to use as a role model?

[ Parent ]
Ejaculate in the goatee. (1.06 / 16) (#105)
by YeltsinFan242 on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 09:32:33 PM EST

See you on the other side of C-SPAN, loser. Nobody's accusing you of exercising a double standard, idiot. Your stupid little mind cannot distinguish a difference between schools of thought and the drive to act upon those thoughts. And don't fool yourself, Senator Cockbreath of whatever state you claim residence to has thought about having his opponent murdered or sabotaging his health at least once. Also, isn't a relief that you can game the system by telling lies to your constituency? It's a real gut-buster! Pathetic little cocksucking worm.

To those advocates of the killing of children: (2.80 / 5) (#107)
by shinshin on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 09:45:15 PM EST

It's always nice to see this debate crop up every so often, as listening to the ravenous rantings of death penalty supporters serves to reaffirm my preexisting conviction that the death penalty is always wrong. Frankly, I don't care a whit that the Supreme Court made up a mostly-bogus justification (which, by the way, I think is debatable; this article could have used a little more fleshing out of the legal theory behind the decision): anything that slows the conveyor-belt of murder in my country is A.O.K. in my eyes. I am, however, a bit mystified about why all those "Culture of Life" conservatives have fallen into an apoplectic rage over this -- ought they not be happy by the decision :) (note to non-US residents: the smiley face is because American conservatives that talk about the "Culture of Life" are universally hypocrites, and it is delightful to see them exposed as such).

There are differing views of the reasons for the incarceration of criminals, but they all roughly fall into a combination of one or more of the follows goals:

  1. Removal from Society: If a criminal is not present in society, then they can obviously not continue to damage the society. Obviously, the death penalty makes sense for this reason.
  2. Revenge: Most people who support the death penalty do so for "they get what they deserve" rationales. This is revenge, pure and simple. It's a natural human tendency, but one which civil society has been trying to suppress for the past three thousand years. Anyone who disagrees with this will kindly first read Oedipus Rex before vocalizing such disagreements.
  3. Positive Behavioral Reform: The favorite of the Liberal: make prison into something that will "cure" the criminal of their tendencies so that they will be less inclined to commit crimes in the future. Obviously, the death penalty runs counter to this goal.
  4. Negative Behavioral Reform: The favorite of the Conservative: make prison so miserable that the criminal will be traumatized so as to avoid committing crimes in the future, for fear of returning to such a horrible place. Obviously, the death penalty runs counter to this goal.
  5. Deterrence: The prisoner in question himself is not relevant. Instead, he is used as an example of the horrors that can befall someone who breaks the law, so that other criminals will be deterred from from committing similar acts in the future. This is the second most oft-cited reason in support for the death penalty.

I dismiss #2 out of hand (as will all other right-thinking people). #3 and #4 are not applicable to the death penalty. #5 is very persuasive in this country, but strangely so, given that there is not a shred of scientific evidence to support that it actually works. That leaves #1 as the only rational justification for the death penalty. It is a perfectly rational position, but I just feel that the advantages of saving the taxpayers a few dollars (death penalty vs. life in prison; I'll leave aside the question over which is actually cheaper) is far outweighed by the belief that the government ought not have the right to take the life of her citizens.

Obviously, there are dozens of other reasons people cite for being opposed to the death penalty, but when it comes down to pragmatic theory of crime and punishment, it simply isn't worth it.

____
We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003

From Law & Order... (none / 0) (#182)
by Shajenko on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 01:32:01 PM EST

There's only one reason I can agree with for keeping the death penalty, and that's only for the very worst crimes: things like killing a cop or a witness. Basically, the only reason someone who has committed a crime like 1st degree murder, where the penalty is easily life, wouldn't decide to just fight to the death with any cops who tried to arrest him, is if there was a penalty that's even worse.

Conveniently, this is a good reason for not capriciously or frequently applying the death penalty. If you accidentally run somebody over, for instance, and you know they might execute you for it, might as well kill any witnesses, and shoot at cops who find you. After all, they can't kill you even more.

[ Parent ]
Crime-punishment calculus (none / 0) (#201)
by shinshin on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 04:40:42 PM EST

Basically, the only reason someone who has committed a crime like 1st degree murder, where the penalty is easily life, wouldn't decide to just fight to the death with any cops who tried to arrest him, is if there was a penalty that's even worse.

I hear this sort of thing often by death-penalty supporters, and I think it is a fallacy. Firstly, I think opposing logic is just as plausible: a criminal commits first-degree murder and sees witnesses. He figures that the penalty might be death, so why not just kill the witnesses?

The second, and more important, reason is that it assumes that an intricate crime-punishment calculus goes through the criminal's mind, and he makes a reasoned assessment of the relative weights of the possible punishments for his current and potential acts. Violent criminals tend to not be very reasonable people in the first place, or else they wouldn't have become violent criminals in the first place.



____
We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
[ Parent ]
Couple of points (none / 0) (#195)
by duffbeer703 on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 03:49:11 PM EST

Why is a life sentence to confinement, physical, mental and sexual abuse less cruel or unusual than death?

In my opinion, execution for capital crimes is a far more merciful punishment than a life of torment.

I question the notion that on your 18th birthday, the clock ticks and you become competent enough to make decisions for yourself. Fifteen year olds have led armies, become parents, and are capable of handling adult tasks and understanding adult concepts. There clearly needs to more of a distinction between adult & child than the anniversary of your birth.

I also question the logic behind placing Europe atop of the pedastal of humanity and civilization.  The modern european socialist society is no more the pinnacle of humanity than the US lazze-faire society of the early 20th century or the British Imperial system of the 19th.

[ Parent ]

Points (none / 0) (#197)
by shinshin on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 04:29:26 PM EST

Why is a life sentence to confinement, physical, mental and sexual abuse less cruel or unusual than death?
In my opinion, execution for capital crimes is a far more merciful punishment than a life of torment.

Well, speak for yourself. Personally, I'd much rather spend life in prison than be killed. It'd suck, but at least I wouldn't be dead. I estimate that most people who claim otherwise, once they are faced with the option, would change their mind and choose life in prison.

I question the notion that on your 18th birthday, the clock ticks and you become competent enough to make decisions for yourself. Fifteen year olds have led armies, become parents, and are capable of handling adult tasks and understanding adult concepts. There clearly needs to more of a distinction between adult & child than the anniversary of your birth.

Sure, but that's not really the point. Before achieving universal suffrage, people are not considered complete members of society: they cannot vote, nor can they be sent to die in war. The fact that that point is bound to a mostly-arbitrary chronological age isn't really relevant. Ideally, there would be some "intellectual maturity" criteria at which a person is deemed to be competent to assume the full responsibilities of society, but there is currently no fair and reasonable way to assess that criteria. So the fact that it is at age 18 is a poor but necessary delimiter.

I also question the logic behind placing Europe atop of the pedastal[sic] of humanity and civilization.

I did no such thing in the post to which you are responding. However, I do believe that in some areas (death penalty, social welfare, opposition to war, tax codes, health care), they have morally surpassed the US. I also believe that in other areas (race relations, prison systems, employee protections, health and safety regulations), they continue to lag behind. No "pedestal" there: just a "they do some things better, some things worse" attitude. I know this is anathema to American Exceptionalists, but American Exceptionalists are part of the problem, not the solution.



____
We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
[ Parent ]
I see your Oedipus and raise you a Crito (none / 0) (#222)
by SocratesGhost on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 06:46:59 PM EST

You know the one, the guys come to bust Socrates out of jail and he explains why the state has a right to commit him to a wrongful death.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
SocratesGhost: not the real Socrates! (3.00 / 3) (#228)
by shinshin on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 07:22:31 PM EST

You do your namesake a grave disservice: Plato said no such thing in Crito. Plato's Socrates character in Crito refused to escape not because he thought the death penalty was right, but because he felt compelled to submit himself to the will of the State for the greater good. Huge difference.

As a matter of fact, he pretty much outright says that the state was evil in condemning him to death: "And what of doing evil [escaping from prison] in return for evil [the state condemning me to death], which is the morality of the many".

If you are going to make literary references, you should at least pick ones that back up your position.

____
We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
[ Parent ]

nice circles (none / 0) (#231)
by SocratesGhost on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 07:37:01 PM EST

Death penalty is bad, but it's for the greater good.

Doesn't that make it... I don't know... a good for the state?

How is that an argument against it? His argument is that the state which gave him life and raised him and defended him can treat him any way it wants to. Therefore, the state has a right to use the death penalty. That's a pretty strong real world example of someone supporting the state's right to capital punishment.

Also, you completely misunderstand the Greek notion of evil. Earthquakes were evil. Surgeons do evil in order to do good. Anything which caused a harm was evil. Stop imposing your modern western views over what he was really saying.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
Good of the state (none / 0) (#241)
by shinshin on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 09:01:34 PM EST

You can think that a policy of the state is unjust, and still believe that it is best to submit yourself to the will of the state. For example, plenty of soldiers realize the Iraq war is unjust and based on fabrications, and yet they still decide to continue serving the state, and possibly die while doing so.

Death penalty is bad, but it's for the greater good.

Doesn't that make it... I don't know... a good for the state?

I suspect you are intentionally misunderstanding me here, but just in case you aren't, I'll clarify it a bit: I never said Plato's position was: "Death penalty is bad, but it's for the greater good", I said it was: "Death penalty is bad as a policy of the state. However, my personal objection to it is not sufficient for me to go against the will of the state and escape from prison".

____
We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
[ Parent ]

well, now you're making up Plato (none / 0) (#261)
by SocratesGhost on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 12:04:54 PM EST

The Crito never says that the death penalty is unjust or a bad policy. You should read it again. It is an evil, to be sure, but one that is permissible under the conditions that Socrates laid out.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
So I'm making things up, now? (none / 0) (#263)
by shinshin on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 12:20:41 PM EST

You are welcome to you're own reading of Crito, but don't accuse me of fabricating his argument, especially since my interpretation is the same as the commonly accepted interpretation of the text. If you want to argue for an alternate interpretation, go ahead and provide some supporting evidence. But don't just accuse me of making things up.

When Socrates says "the state has injured us and given an unjust sentence", how on earth can you read that as being anything but that the death penalty is unjust.

The text is short and easily read. I would be interested in hearing the interpretation of others.

____
We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
[ Parent ]

Yes (none / 0) (#266)
by SocratesGhost on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 12:51:51 PM EST

He never comments about the right of the state to apply the death penalty.

He is saying that he thinks his own punishment is unjust.

Seriously, read what you just copied again. It's short and easily read. Your logical fallacy is applying the particular to the universal. You may want to look that one up too.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
Whaaaaaa? (none / 0) (#267)
by shinshin on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 01:10:08 PM EST

He never comments about the right of the state to apply the death penalty.

I disagree with that, and I have provided ample evidence. However, taking for a moment that that might be a valid reading, your statement directly contradicts what you said earlier in this thread:

he explains why the state has a right to commit him to a wrongful death

I think that you should consider that before accusing me of talking in circles, making up what Crito says, and falling prey to logical fallacies.

____
We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
[ Parent ]

yes (none / 1) (#272)
by SocratesGhost on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 02:32:46 PM EST

He disagrees with the verdict, but the state has a right to do it anyway. It's part of the contract he "signed" by staying in Athens for his entire life and taking the oath. What's so self-contradictory about that?

You have actually offered no evidence to support your position. You may not realize it because you are trying so hard to make your point that what seems obvious to you really isn't. And if I made a logical fallacy, please use small words because you're obviously not making your point.

Point to any sentence (or combination of sentences) where he says that the state ought not to use the death penalty in any case. Not just his case, but any case. He doesn't. If he was condemning the death penalty in general, you'd think he would mention why it is generally bad policy. Maybe in the Crito? Perhaps the Phaedo when he probably wasn't as much of a puppet for Plato? During the trial, perhaps? He doesn't bring it up, I suppose, because either he or his biographers don't have a problem with the penalty.

No, even Xenophon in his Apology has Socrates talking about how the death penalty will help him avoid old age. Far from a person who despises the death penalty, Socrates comes across as pretty comfortable with it even in his own case.

Besides, it's pretty absurd to think you'll find a general opposition to the death penalty from a man who was his own executioner.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
Crito a go-go (none / 0) (#275)
by shinshin on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 02:51:32 PM EST

And if I made a logical fallacy, please use small words because you're obviously not making your point.

I'm confused. You are the one that accused me of committing a logical fallacy, not the other way around.

Point to any sentence (or combination of sentences) where he says that the state ought not to use the death penalty in any case.

See my other recent posting on this thread. I never claimed that Crito was making any general statement on the death penalty. I was countering your original claim that Crito was making a statement in support of the death penalty.

If we are hell-bent on believing that Crito is making a general statement on the rightness of the death penalty, then we need to take into account that the only thing that is said about it in the work is that it is unjust in that particular case. We need to generalize from the particular, because that is the only evidence that is provided to us.

Besides, it's pretty absurd to think you'll find a general opposition to the death penalty from a man who was his own executioner.

Now, that's just ridiculous. First off, the views expressed in Crito are Plato's, not Socrates'. Second, the fact that he carried out his own sentence is in no way a statement that he believed in the justness of the sentence. Had he not been his own executioner, then the state would have performed the execution, and in a much less pleasant and dignified manner. Your statement is like saying: "he submitted himself to be imprisoned because of jaywalking, so he much have considered incarceration to be a valid punishment for such a minor offense".



____
We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
[ Parent ]
You're insane (none / 1) (#277)
by SocratesGhost on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 03:24:49 PM EST

It's always a fallacy to extract from one point of data. I looked at one eclipse when I was a kid and I didn't go blind. QED, I can look at eclipses.

The more reasonable position is that he doesn't disagree that the state has that right. If he did, it's very likely that this would have been mentioned by any of the people who portrayed him, all of whom (with the exception of a playwright) were his friends. Consider the irony of executing a man who was philosophically opposed to capital punishment in an era where state executions were commonplace and supported by the majority of its citizens. Still, it never merited a mention by any of them. The only evidence we have (if you insist that the Crito is Plato and not Socrates) is that the man willingly cooperated in the process, thereby acquiescing with its application.

Also, if we're insistent that Crito is more Plato than Socrates, then we have to admit that Plato has no problem with its application either. Have you per chance read his Laws? Or his other little known work, the Republic? Check them out some time, you'll see how squeamish he is. Laws, Book 9: "...and if one is found guilty of such a murder, namely of having killed one of these kin, let the servants of the jurors and the archons put the criminal to death."

So, which is it? Are you going with Plato who is perfectly fine with the death penalty or are you going with a Socrates who is willing to cooperate with state executions to rally to your defense? This should be fun.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
Look... (none / 0) (#278)
by shinshin on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 03:39:14 PM EST

The point isn't that Plato was not opposed to the death penalty, not is it any generalization fallacy that you think I've committed.

The point is that you said that Crito advocated that the state is justified in punishing people with death. Even by your own subsequent admission, it says no such thing. Is this really so difficult for you to grasp, or are you just trying to obfuscate the topic so as to get out of not looking a little silly that your original pithy comment was clearly and demonstrably wrong?

Now, questions of whether Crito is really Plato or Socrates, or how the Dialogs and the Laws are related are all very interesting; they just happen to be completely irrelevant in this case.

Feel free to respond, but if you are going to do so honestly, you need to address what I said in the second paragraph.

____
We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
[ Parent ]

Tacitly, he does (none / 1) (#283)
by SocratesGhost on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 04:46:39 PM EST

He doesn't explicitly state it because, frankly, it didn't require it. What you propose is something almost wholly modern: that the rights of the state has limits. Until Hobbes, few proposed this. As a result, the idea that the state cannot put someone to death would strike the average Greek as something absurd.

The Crito demonstrates the tacit Socratic agreement of capital punishment in several ways:
  1. The obviousness with which they treat the state's rights in this matter. If you want to dismiss this one, fine. It's also the weakest of my claims.
  2. That the piece presents an argument to demonstrate why a citizen must go along with it even when they disagree about their own execution.
  3. In describing his "contractual" relationship with the state, he makes the observation that he understood what the state did but he accepted it anyway.
  4. He never disputes the state's rights to execute him when presented the opportunity of speaking directly to the Laws. (In the voice of the Law, emphasis mine):
      "can you deny in the first place that you are our child and slave, as your fathers were before you? And if this is true you are not on equal terms with us; nor can you think that you have a right to do to us what we are doing to you."
        or
      "And because we think right to destroy you, do you think that you have any right to destroy us in return, and your country as far as in you lies?"
  5. The Law states, elsewhere, "whether in battle or in a court of law, or in any other place, he must do what his city and his country order him; or he must change their view of what is just." He obviously failed to change their view, but in his attempt he never tried to explain the injustice of capital punishment. So, when presented specifically with the opportunity in the courts he didn't speak against it nor is he making a second attempt now.
  6. The law states: "What complaint have you to make against us which justifies you in attempting to destroy us and the state?" He doesn't respond that the state has no right to execute.
  7. That these likely reflect the real events (though not the words) of a man who cooperated with the state in his own execution, even when granted the opportunity of escape.
How much more evidence do you need to indicate a powerful tacit acceptance of capital punishment?

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
Tacitly, you can make anyone say anything (none / 0) (#292)
by shinshin on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 07:56:27 PM EST

He doesn't explicitly state it because, frankly, it didn't require it. What you propose is something almost wholly modern: that the rights of the state has limits. Until Hobbes, few proposed this. As a result, the idea that the state cannot put someone to death would strike the average Greek as something absurd.

Absolute rubbish. The whole notion of codified laws is that they restrict the ability of the state in some way. After all, if the state is to be completely unrestricted, then it should not be bound to adhering to the laws that it writes, and instead can act in a completely arbitrary way.

Hobbes might have gone a step further with his "natural rights", but he by no means was the first to propose that the actions of the state should be limited.

The Crito demonstrates the tacit Socratic agreement of capital punishment in several ways:
1. The obviousness with which they treat the state's rights in this matter. If you want to dismiss this one, fine. It's also the weakest of my claims.

What do you mean? By "obviousness with which they treat the state's rights in this matter" do you mean that they never argue that the state doesn't have a right to do something? I find it strange that you so vehemently believe that Socrates can express disagreement with the state in their chosen verdict of him, but then say that it is inconceivable that he could disagree with the state's chosen punishment.

2. That the piece presents an argument to demonstrate why a citizen must go along with it even when they disagree about their own execution.

Absolutely. That's what I've been saying over and over, if you would only read carefully. Just because I think that a certain kind of punishment is unjust, doesn't mean that I think that it is not the obligation of a citizen to submit themselves to that punishment. It simply does not follow that if I willingly submit myself to a certain form of punishment, that I agree that that punishment is just.

3. In describing his "contractual" relationship with the state, he makes the observation that he understood what the state did but he accepted it anyway.

That statement doesn't parse for me. Of course "he understood what the state did". How is that in any way relevant?

4. He never disputes the state's rights to execute him when presented the opportunity of speaking directly to the Laws. (In the voice of the Law, emphasis mine):

You are saying here that failure to dispute something implies agreement.

5. The Law states, elsewhere, "whether in battle or in a court of law, or in any other place, he must do what his city and his country order him; or he must change their view of what is just." He obviously failed to change their view, but in his attempt he never tried to explain the injustice of capital punishment. So, when presented specifically with the opportunity in the courts he didn't speak against it nor is he making a second attempt now.

Again, all he is saying here is that the citizen has a duty to submit himself to the punishment of the state. It says nothing about whether that punishment is just. He does say, elsewhere, that the punishment is unjust in his particular case.

6. The law states: "What complaint have you to make against us which justifies you in attempting to destroy us and the state?" He doesn't respond that the state has no right to execute.

Again, You are saying here that failure to dispute something implies agreement. I think that is a pretty shaky foundation on which to read a text. Nowhere in this thread have I disputed that the sky is green, does that mean that I am "tacitly" asserting that that sky is green?

7. That these likely reflect the real events (though not the words) of a man who cooperated with the state in his own execution, even when granted the opportunity of escape.

This is a rather mystifying statement. Are you really asserting that Crito actually existed and tried to bust Socrates out of jail, but Socrates refused? I don't think Crito was based on a true story.

How much more evidence do you need to indicate a powerful tacit acceptance of capital punishment?

I still contest that because his only statements regarding capital punishment are that it is being unjustly applied, it doesn't make sense to generalize that into a statement that capital punishment is just in some cases.

I'm sorry if I am sounding like a broken record here, but I just can't understand why something is so incredibly clear to me can be interpreted in such a dramatically different way by some else arguing in good faith. Obviously, one of us is blinded by his ideological goal. I hope it isn't me :)



____
We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
[ Parent ]
now you're being obtuse (none / 1) (#298)
by SocratesGhost on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 10:56:48 AM EST

Somehow, you have to square these two distinct ideas:

1. There are limits on what the state can do.
2. The state can do anything it wants to Socrates and he is obliged not to resist.

How you can square away two mutually exclusive notions is beyond me. How you can say that an assumption against number 1 doesn't exist defies reason. The entire Crito is about the issue of what the state can do and Socrates' obligation to it.

I'm saying that it's a tacit assumption commonly held in the ancient world that the state had the right to use the death penalty. Prove me wrong on this point: find one case in antiquity where there is a general argument against it. I can find multitudes in support of it.

Also, point to me where he says his punishment is unjust. You're not reading the text closely again. I know the section you're talking about and he could just as easily be speaking hypotheticals. Further, an argument could be made that Socrates believes his case was just: he implies that he failed to satisfy the conditions for proving his death unjust.

On reading point 3, it's obvious you're not really following what I've been saying. You seem to think that I care whether Socrates thinks the penalty is wrong. I don't. What I do care about is whether Socrates accepts the state's right to do this. Every point was about Socrates' recognition (and ultimately acceptance) of this capacity. Point 3 indicates that Socrates knew the state executed people and he accepted it anyway. If we were to think of this as primitive social contract, then we have to accept that the death penalty was part of the contract that he knowingly entered. Now, it's possible that he disagreed with this clause of the contract but that's a moot point. While the law might be wrong in this aspect, the overall effect of it was something that Socrates agreed with. He must have felt that the state met its obligations to him otherwise the contract would have no effect (and the Greeks were highly aware of contract law back then). In other words, even if he disagreed with the penalty, its tantamount to a disagreement over a speed limit; he may disagree with it but recognizes the state's right to impose it since it couldn't void the contract. He may not like it, but he accepts that the state can do this.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
Please, then, excuse my obtuseness (none / 0) (#299)
by shinshin on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 11:54:31 AM EST

I wish you had responded directly to some of the other points in my previous post (such as the bit about limits to the rights of the state), but oh well...
Somehow, you have to square these two distinct ideas:
1. There are limits on what the state can do.
2. The state can do anything it wants to Socrates and he is obliged not to resist.

Why is this notion so alien to you? I have friends who are gun owners, and they feel very strongly that the government doesn't have the right to restrict gun ownership. However, when the government does pass laws restricting gun ownership, they feel it is their duty to comply with the will of the state.

There are a million other examples of this. When the state does something that you think is unjust, do you, SocratesGhost, disobey every time? Take up arms against an unjust state? Such principled behavior might be admirable, but it would be difficult to run a society in which everyone felt they had the right to disobey any decision the state makes that they deem unjust.

How is Socrates any different? He just happens to be high-minded enough to take this to the extreme of allowing his own death.

Also, point to me where he says his punishment is unjust. You're not reading the text closely again. I know the section you're talking about and he could just as easily be speaking hypotheticals. Further, an argument could be made that Socrates believes his case was just: he implies that he failed to satisfy the conditions for proving his death unjust.

Given the opportunity to confront Law on his sentence, Socrates says he would say: "the State has injured us and given an unjust sentence". I'm sorry if you think that I am not reading the text closely enough to draw what apparently is your conclusion of the the exact opposite thing, but this is pretty straightforward to me.

In other words, even if he disagreed with the penalty, its tantamount to a disagreement over a speed limit; he may disagree with it but recognizes the state's right to impose it since it couldn't void the contract. He may not like it, but he accepts that the state can do this.

That is precisely what I've been saying over and over.

Let me sum up what I think the pertinent points are:

  1. I believe that Socrates states very clearly that he thinks that the death penalty in his particular case is unjust. You seem to disagree.
  2. We both agree that the text make no outright statement about the justness of the death penalty as a matter of general state policy. I think that #1 can be interpreted to imply that it might be unjust. You seem to think the exact opposite.
  3. You say that it is inconceivable that any Greek could possibly say that the state does not have a right to do anything. I disagree, as I pointed out in my previous post.


____
We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
[ Parent ]
read a little before that statement (none / 1) (#300)
by SocratesGhost on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 01:18:01 PM EST

He's posing it in the form of a hypothetical. He's setting up the argument so that if someone were to say he was treated unjustly, that the laws could come back and say, "No, you had your chance."

The text in full (emphasis mine):
"Anyone, and especially a clever rhetorician, will have a good deal to urge about the evil of setting aside the law which requires a sentence to be carried out; and we might reply, 'Yes; but the State has injured us and given an unjust sentence.' Suppose I say that?"

That's a lot of mights and supposes for someone who is convinced he was unjustly treated. Also, if you've read any amount of Plato's Socrates, you know that this is his typical construction when he's going to prove the opposite. He goes on and in the immediate reply contains this response:

"He must do what his city and his country order him; or he must change their view of what is just:"

It's clear that he failed that. At this point in his writing period, Plato had not really formulated his theory of forms, so I don't think we can introduce that as any sort of evidence, but it really is making a case here that justice is an agreed upon activity. At the minimum, he sets the standard above what he alone can independently decide--after all, he makes the case that we should listen only to experts and his reservations against making a strong claim of injustice can only coincide with his often professed ignorance of knowing such virtues. Further, if he cannot dissuade the community, it is just to go by the consequences that come from this. Far from thinking he was unjustly treated, I can only see this as a claim that he was justly sentenced.

And before you point out the part about how he did say it was an evil, I'll remind you that the Greek notion of evil didn't have the moral connotation that it now has. Socrates himself probably could point out a great many evils that would then be thought just, such as a man disciplining a child or a slave, or a doctor who gave foul tasting medicine.

That's why I disagree with your #1 and the consequences follow naturally into #2.

#3, I'm not saying it's inconceivable, but unless given a reason to doubt that he held common views of the era, it's more likely than not that he agreed with the occasional use of the death penalty. I don't want to get too far off track, but it would be as if we were trying to determine he was a pederast. In either case, we can only look at likelihood and the assumptions in the text which for me are scattered throughout the text as I've pointed out. Else, we could look at the context of the text, which I also feel strongly supports a pro-death penalty stance. If anyone should have opposed the death penalty, it should have been Plato whose teacher was untimely killed. But as we have seen, even he is not.

As an addendum to your #3, the purpose of laws back then were to provide guidelines but they in no way imposed absolute rules or restrictions. They were used for rhetorical consideration. Look at the Murder of Eratosthenes where the defendent created a justification in the courtroom and cited a law that was closely related but not directly applicable. We don't know the outcome of the trial, but his use of laws were more rhetorical than legal. Consequently, laws didn't restrict the actions of the court--it really did come down to the eloquence of the speaker. And when that is the case, what are the de facto limits of the state? None at all. Every Athenian understood this. You have to remember, this was in the days when Pericles was essentially a tyrant over the empire of the Delian League. They had to operate within a framework, but there was no limit to what that framework would permit, including capital punishment and the occasional historical periods of absolutism.

Anyhow, I think we're repeating ourselves now. I hope that I've at least given you enough to go off of that you don't think I was merely being flippant in my initial reply. I can't convince someone who doesn't even want to look for assumptions because he thinks that anything not explicitly stated cannot be considered and I think I'm too confident in my stance to fully allow some of your more critical objections.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
Moving on (none / 0) (#301)
by shinshin on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 01:43:05 PM EST

Anyhow, I think we're repeating ourselves now. I hope that I've at least given you enough to go off of that you don't think I was merely being flippant in my initial reply. I can't convince someone who doesn't even want to look for assumptions because he thinks that anything not explicitly stated cannot be considered and I think I'm too confident in my stance to fully allow some of your more critical objections.

I will concede that it may be overly stubborn for me to insist that the text must be read only for explicit statements. I still stand by my objection to your original assertion that Crito can be characterized as a pro-death-penalty statement, but I don't think we'll ever find enough common ground on this to be able to meaningfully debate it further without continuing in circles.

I applaud your very gracious closure.

____
We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
[ Parent ]

Bravo (none / 0) (#303)
by werebear on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 08:10:37 PM EST

This sort of thread is why I still read Kuro5hin. That actually made for interesting reading. Cheers.

[ Parent ]
just for fun (none / 0) (#315)
by Battle Troll on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 03:12:54 PM EST

Prove me wrong on this point: find one case in antiquity where there is a general argument against [the death penalty.]

It was either off the books or restricted during some Byzantine and Kievan regimes. That's why all those late-Byzantine pretenders and such wound up minus eyes and noses rather than entire heads.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]

Interesting (none / 0) (#316)
by SocratesGhost on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 06:05:12 PM EST

I always thought that antiquity ended in 476 AD when the Western Roman Empire fell... as good a time as any to demarcate that time from the Middle Ages. Still, these things are arbitrary and words like "antiquity" can be applied to my own childhood so those incidents might qualify.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
that's why I said 'just for fun' (none / 0) (#317)
by Battle Troll on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 08:03:51 PM EST

Personally, I see the period of the German kingdoms as failing to constitute a period of Eastern Imperial history.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
Uhmm... (none / 0) (#270)
by cr8dle2grave on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 01:55:46 PM EST

The Crito has not traditonally been read as offering up an argument on the death penalty itself, either pro or contra. The traditional reading of the Crito has it making arguments about the nature and extent of our civic obligations, with a particular attention to how Democracy affects those obligations.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
Well.... (none / 0) (#273)
by shinshin on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 02:34:46 PM EST

Sure. But if we intend to read something into it (as did SocratesGhost when he said that Crito was an argument for the death penalty), we see that all the actual statements in the text are opposed to the death penalty in that particular case. Since we have decided (wrongly) that a position on the death penalty it taken in Crito, and we see that all the statements in the work are opposed to the punishment, then the only reasonable conclusion to draw is that it is opposed to the death penalty.

Now, you can always say "Plato was not categorically opposed to the death penalty, and therefore none of his works can be interpreted as being statements in opposition to the death penalty", then I guess that's valid. However, that's not the subject at hand.

____
We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
[ Parent ]

wait an F'in minute (2.00 / 2) (#110)
by Cat Huggles on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 10:17:10 PM EST

Doesn't death penalty take many years to actually be executed? Are they still juveniles, come death day?

So? (none / 0) (#158)
by Have A Nice Day on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 08:08:20 AM EST

The idea is that you don't kill people for mistakes they made as children, when they're not properly psychologically developed, not that you keep them locked up until you're no longer killing a child.

--------------
Have A Nice Day may have reentered the building.
[ Parent ]
Define "child" (none / 0) (#271)
by tassach on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 02:19:51 PM EST

The idea is that you don't kill people for mistakes they made as children, when they're not properly psychologically developed, not that you keep them locked up until you're no longer killing a child.
I wholeheartedly agree. The problem is, how do you define who is a "child"? Is a 10-year-old a child? How about a 13 year old? How about a 17-year-old?

A 17-year old 1 day shy of his 18th birthday is just as much an adult as he is the next day. In the real world, you don't magically become an adult overnight. If your crime is so egregous that 12 citizens all think you should die for it, then it shouldn't matter if you were 15 or 25 when you committed it. What should matter is the INDIVIDUAL'S mental development. A 13 year old who was demonstrably aware that his actions were wrong should be treated as an adult; a 31 year old who is mentally retarded should be treated as a child. If we, as a society, are going to empower juries with the power of life and death, then we should do so on a logically consistent basis.

Personally, I think the THEORY of the death penalty is spot-on. It is entirely right and proper for a society to declare that some crimes are so unforgivable that their perpetrators should be put to death. IMHO, executing a person is no more cruel or unusual than locking that person in a steel cage for the remainder of their natural life.

However, the IMPLEMENTATION of that theory (at least in the US) is demonstrably flawed, given the huge number of death-row inmates who have been conclusivly exonerated of the crimes for which they were convicted. Until the criminal justice system establishes a consistent track record of not convicting innocent people, the death penalty should be suspended.

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants" -- Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

No argument from me (none / 0) (#311)
by Have A Nice Day on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 07:19:12 AM EST

I jus think that the post I replied to kinda missed the point of not executing kids - if the person is decided to not be mature enough to have known what they were doing, you don't just keep em locked up until they become mature enough and then execute them.

What you should do is treat them as you treat any other who is deemd to have diminished responsibility - with therapy and custodial sentences either in a regular jail or a mental institution.

--------------
Have A Nice Day may have reentered the building.
[ Parent ]
-1, censorship. (1.75 / 4) (#124)
by fragmal on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 11:36:09 PM EST

You deleted someone's comments to win an argument and stop them from making you look stupid. That is the most intellectually cowardly stunt I've ever seen from anyone on this site, much less an administrator.


The content in this comment is protected under the Creative Commons License. Details about the Creative Commons License can be found here.
No. (none / 1) (#134)
by aphrael on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 01:06:11 AM EST

I did not delete someone's comments in this thread. I have *never* engaged in that kind of censorship, nor would I do so.

[ Parent ]
Oh, I suppose we could ask him about it then (1.00 / 2) (#137)
by fragmal on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 01:10:24 AM EST

We'll wait for Checking Out Dudes In The Locker Room to reply telling us this never happened...

...

...

I'm waiting...

Oh, that's right, along with deleting his potentially humiliating comments, you decided to anonymise his account to make sure he can't do it again. Way to go, coward. Liar. Whatever.


The content in this comment is protected under the Creative Commons License. Details about the Creative Commons License can be found here.
[ Parent ]

Potentially humiliating? (none / 0) (#170)
by aphrael on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 11:40:02 AM EST

The guy is on record as having said that the Rwandan government did nothing wrong when it killed several hundred thousand of its own people. I doubt anything he says in criticism of my politics or ethics could be potentially humiliating; he's already entered the rare world of self-refuting positions.

[ Parent ]
Aph had nothing to do with it (none / 1) (#138)
by MstlyHrmls on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 01:38:29 AM EST

The ban was imposed because the same user had been banned a few days ago, and their behaviour hadn't improved with their new account. We can't not ban someone simply because they picked a fight with an editor, particularly if the reason for the ban has nothing to do with the fight.

As for deleting the comments, that is becoming standard procedure when abusive duplicate accounts are found, and will become more wide-spread when k5 updates its code and picks up the new deletion-that-doesn't-break-threading code. The account that was deleted had 3 comments, only one of which was in reply to aphrael. You'll notice the rest of the comments in that thread, which are just as inflammatory, remain.

-mh
--
Me? I'm Mostly Harmless.
[ Parent ]

LOL oh great (3.00 / 2) (#141)
by fragmal on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 01:52:32 AM EST

Here we have a guy who basically never posts, then all of a sudden when I start accusing editors of censorship (and rightly so), he's here packing a serious trouser tent for their alleged policy which was conveniently enforced 5 minutes after aphrael's silly moral code was totally picked apart.

Yeah, I'll believe that.


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[ Parent ]

I suspected you wouldn't (none / 0) (#150)
by MstlyHrmls on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 03:20:59 AM EST

and I doubt there is anything I could say or do that would convince you. Nevertheless, it is the truth.

-mh
--
Me? I'm Mostly Harmless.
[ Parent ]

You can believe what you want. (none / 0) (#169)
by aphrael on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 11:36:11 AM EST

MH is telling the truth. He's been an admin for several months, and has been significantly more aggressive about restricting accounts for anti-social behavior than any of the other admins have been in quite some time.

I have never removed a comment because I disagreed with its content. I am one of the few people to have given this comment a positive rating. I have a long record of, before becoming an admin, being one of the strongest anti-censorship voices on the site; if you read my comments from when Paul Dunne pulled a story because he didn't like it, I was practically hysterical.

You're accusing me of doing something that I simply would not do, that would violate my "silly moral code"; and you're accusing MH of dishonesty based on your presumption that i'm evil. You're entitled to that, I suppose, but it leaves me torn between being angry at you and pitying you.

[ Parent ]

Sorry pal, (none / 0) (#172)
by fragmal on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 11:52:11 AM EST

But if you're in a position to do something about it and you instead stand idly by or whine, you're just as culpable.


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[ Parent ]
I'm in a position to do something about it? (none / 0) (#174)
by aphrael on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 12:01:28 PM EST

There's an ironclad rule that editors don't undo the actions of other editors unless they were flagrant. MH noted his reasons for removing the account in the admin notes, and the removal was perfectly within the rules.

I may be morally culpable for the removal because I refuse to instigate an internal editor war over a removal which followed the rules. But I did not instigate the removal, nor did I carry it out.

[ Parent ]

Exactly. Acquiescence is as good as approval. (none / 1) (#199)
by fragmal on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 04:32:34 PM EST

But I did not instigate the removal, nor did I carry it out.

I'm not seeing how this refutes what I just said. If you had any principles, you would've resigned your editorship over this and other similar censorship (I cannot imagine this is the only such incident.).


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[ Parent ]

*laugh* (none / 0) (#200)
by aphrael on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 04:38:40 PM EST



[ Parent ]
awesome. (none / 0) (#214)
by the ghost of rmg on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 05:57:27 PM EST

way to take out the trash, man. it's good to see an editor with some spine around here.


rmg: comments better than yours.
[ Parent ]
inconsistent consistency quote (none / 1) (#148)
by nml on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 02:48:51 AM EST

"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds", Mr. Emerson said. This decision would make him weep.

according to your article, the decision isn't consistent, foolishly or otherwise. You're arguing that it's illogical, which is completely different. Although its a slightly different issue, i think that the ruling probably follows the spirit of Emerson's quote better than you are ;o)



You know (2.00 / 3) (#167)
by Sesquipundalian on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 11:22:33 AM EST

Here in Canada, we don't have any government enforced death peanalty. One of the great results of this policy is that no one is afraid to go to the police for anything. No matter what you did, no matter how involved you are, if you go to the police you will always be protected from death and there is no possibillity that you will be killed.

This is not the case in other countries. If I get picked on by the wrong people while vacationing in Mexico, I'm likely to just shut my mouth and try not to get so drunk next time I go out. There are two reasons for this seeming apathy; 1) I could have broken their laws in some death peanalty deserving way, and so by complaining to their police I could in fact be risking my own life. 2) The people picking on me could be bribing the local constabulary, in which case it wouldn't be too hard for them to frame me for a capital offence. I hear that lots of people "dissapear" in Mexican jails and I wouldn't want to be one of them.

Because in Canada, the government will only jail you for an offence (no matter how bad), each Canadian citizen effectively recieves an allotment of one or two homicides in per lifetime. If you are a bad person and you assault lots of people and steal things, the court will probably have you locked up for twenty years the first time you kill anyone. If you are good citizen and you have a plausible excuse OTOH, you are likely to be able to get away with much more. Lots of people get to "plea bargain" the status of a murder charge down to "accidental death". You might only go to jail for a year or so if this is only your first "accidental death". Thus in Canada, if there is a time in your life where you absolutely have to take out the trash, the police will let you "take responsibillity" for it afterwards. Try this tactic in the United States and you could be risking your life.

In a way you could say that Canada has a universal peer to peer distributed capital punishment system. I'd say it works pretty well too if murder statistics are anything to go by.


Did you know that gullible is not actually an english word?
bull poo-poo (none / 1) (#194)
by SocratesGhost on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 03:38:04 PM EST

Now, are you really suggesting that someone will happily approach the police because they'll only be permanently incarcerated?

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
Hey dumbass (none / 1) (#204)
by LilDebbie on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 04:57:50 PM EST

Mexico doesn't have the death penalty. In fact, their disgust of said penalty is the primary reason why they don't have an extradition treaty with the US.

That said, you can bribe yourself out of most Mexican jails for $20, and it isn't all that difficult to outbid the locals.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
error: doesn't follow (none / 0) (#211)
by CAIMLAS on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 05:43:04 PM EST

One of the great results of this policy is that no one is afraid to go to the police for anything.

Is that what your government told you? Because that makes absolutely no sense. It neither follows logically nor does it comply with basic human reactions.

Why would it be that anyone would be affraid to go to the police due to the fact that a criminal might get a death sentence? No law-abiding citizen would be fearful, regardless (unless the police are corrupt, which is more common than not in large cities, which is another topic entirely.)

A criminal is much more likely to want to get away scotch-free if he doesn't say anything: why spill the beans if the worst that can happen to you is place to sleep, 3 square meals a day, and plenty of other criminals with which you can talk with all day long? Now, if that free meal is what the criminal is after, maybe so, but otherwise not.

On the flip side, a criminal is much, much more likely to come clean if they know they might get a more leanient sentence (ie, not get fried) if they come forward on their own accord: this happens often in death-penalty states. It shows that the criminal is at least repentant enough to realize that his/her actions have consequences, and that there's a potential for rehabilitation.
--

Socialism and communism better explained by a psychologist than a political theorist.
[ Parent ]

are you sure about that? (none / 0) (#237)
by thankyougustad on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 07:56:12 PM EST

It shows that the criminal is at least repentant enough to realize that his/her actions have consequences, and that there's a potential for rehabilitation.
Doesn't this just show that your criminal, a human being, doesn't want to die? He doesn't have to show remorse to confess. . .

No no thanks no
Je n'aime que le bourbon
no no thanks no
c'est une affaire de goût.

[ Parent ]
You missed the party (none / 1) (#178)
by MoebiusStreet on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 12:30:41 PM EST

The SCOTUS has been playing rationalization games to achieve their goals for quite some time now. One needs look no farther than Dred Scott, or the patently absurd "penumbras and emanations":
The foregoing cases suggest that specific guarantees in the Bill of Rights have penumbras, formed by emanations from those guarantees that help give them life and substance.
GRISWOLD v. CONNECTICUT, 381 U.S. 479 (1965)

So there's a much deeper issue than just as seen in the death penalty.

rights:responsibility (none / 0) (#208)
by CAIMLAS on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 05:29:41 PM EST

With rights come responsibilities. The founding fathers understood this, intrinsically. It's the fundamental fabric of a civilized culture.

Unfortunately, our society has devolved to the point where social responsibility for one's own actions is basically non-existant.

This is what the SCOTUS appears to grasp, fortunately. This is what they mean by your "absurd" penumbras and emanations".
--

Socialism and communism better explained by a psychologist than a political theorist.
[ Parent ]

Misunderstanding (none / 0) (#215)
by MoebiusStreet on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 06:01:54 PM EST

I think we're actually in agreement. The conclusion the Court reached via "emanations and penumbras" was correct, obviously so.

However, the court had historically so tortured the Bill of Rights that the obvious underpinnings for that conclusion were no longer available. To support their decision they needed to invent an alternate argument. Thus we have the bizarre, ill-defined, and necessarily fuzzy "emanations and penumbras" rather than the clarity that a straight reading of the BoR would yield.

To be sure, being right for the wrong reason beats further shredding of the Constitution, but it's still a lousy position to be in.

[ Parent ]

It's activist conservative judges. (none / 1) (#190)
by lukme on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 02:47:49 PM EST




-----------------------------------
It's awfully hard to fly with eagles when you're a turkey.
Our better instincts? (2.66 / 3) (#203)
by LilDebbie on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 04:54:52 PM EST

I'm pretty sure the death penalty is the instinctual reaction to murder. Call me crazy, but back in the day I'm pretty sure if you killed someone's friend or loved one, his immediate reaction was to try and kill you.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

Agreed. (none / 1) (#205)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 05:07:24 PM EST

We have no "better nature" that isn't taught to us.

How many trolls could a true troll troll if a true troll could troll trolls?
[ Parent ]
well fuck it all then (none / 0) (#236)
by thankyougustad on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 07:52:10 PM EST

hey, some of us are trying to build a civilization here!

No no thanks no
Je n'aime que le bourbon
no no thanks no
c'est une affaire de goût.

[ Parent ]
Well, that would be the key word then. (none / 0) (#245)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 10:13:43 PM EST

"build" - as in, you have to work for it.

How many trolls could a true troll troll if a true troll could troll trolls?
[ Parent ]
well said! (none / 0) (#209)
by CAIMLAS on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 05:34:29 PM EST

Thanks, those are almost the exact words I was looking for. Well said, and accurate.

What the original poster seems to be suggesting is that instead of that 'reaction' to a murder or other diabolic crime (rape, attempted murder, etc.) is that our ancestors should have instead invited the fine chap over for brunch, lunch, and tea, and do stay for a good game of cards!
--

Socialism and communism better explained by a psychologist than a political theorist.
[ Parent ]

Wonderful Logic (none / 0) (#255)
by mettaur on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 08:21:18 AM EST

So if the OP suggests that you shouldn't kill people, then it follows that he is suggesting that you should have "instead invited the fine chap over..."

You may not have realised it, but there are other methods of punishement than slaughter.


--
[Applying business theory to trolling]
[ Parent ]
Our better instincts (none / 1) (#221)
by shinshin on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 06:43:47 PM EST

Humans have an instinct for revenge and reciprocal killing. They also have an instinct to form societies in which peaceful and bloodless coexistence ultimately benefits everyone.

HTH.

____
We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
[ Parent ]

There is of course a difference (none / 0) (#226)
by thankyougustad on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 07:13:59 PM EST

between me killing to dude who raped my daughter and the state killing someone convicted of a crime. In the first place, I am getting revenge myself, instead of relying on the state to do my dirty work. In addition, these kinds of 'since the dawn of time' arguements are full of holes. We've been raping, stealing, killing and so forth forever. In the last couple hundred years though we've been trying to construct a civilization!

No no thanks no
Je n'aime que le bourbon
no no thanks no
c'est une affaire de goût.

[ Parent ]
Why? (none / 0) (#259)
by Znork on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 11:18:49 AM EST

"There is of course a difference"

Why? What is the difference? In a democratic country, the state is (ha-ha, bear with me, in theory at least) the extension of the citizens, acting in service of the citizens, and the citizens reap the benefits as well as bear the responsibility of the actions of the state.

You are justified in killing to protect yourself and others from harm, if that is the only reasonable way to defend yourself, as a private person, so 'killing' is not reserved for the state only.

You would also not be justified in killing someone once you had otherwise subdued them, as you would no longer be acting in self-defense.

You cant ask the state for 'revenge' for crimes. You can ask for damages, but that is a quite different thing, so the state is not engaging in 'revenge' in this case either.

So if killing isnt reserved for the state only on any ethical grounds, but is justifiable both for citizens and the state as representatives of the citizens under specific circumstances, and revenge isnt a theory of justice that the state deals in, nor are the citizens claims on a right to revenge honored, where is the difference, and how do you construct a consistent ethical argument to support such a difference?

[ Parent ]

the difference (none / 0) (#286)
by thankyougustad on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 05:33:11 PM EST

Why? What is the difference? In a democratic country, the state is (ha-ha, bear with me, in theory at least) the extension of the citizens, acting in service of the citizens, and the citizens reap the benefits as well as bear the responsibility of the actions of the state.

I understand what you mean, and I wish that it were that way. It isn't and so lets please me pragmatic abou the whole thing. The state kills people because the population can't. Presumably, if given the opportunity to walk up to the person who raped your daughter, looking him in the eyes, you wouldn't be able to put a gun against his head and empty the chamber. Most American's flinch at the very idea, but they are more than happy to let the state kill for them.

For me, however, the entire issue is academic as I don't wish to be a part of a state that kills people for anyreason. . . but especially when there is an equally effective method of keeping harmful people out of society.

When it comes down to it, and taking into all the caveats you mention, the difference is that the average man doesn't want spattered blood on his hands ; he prefers to let the state do it. . . far away from everyone. It becomes an abstract, an idea, one of Stalins twenty million dead. One dead person's blood on your hands will quickly convince you that he death penalty is a penalty we have no right to impose.



No no thanks no
Je n'aime que le bourbon
no no thanks no
c'est une affaire de goût.

[ Parent ]
Couple hundred years? (none / 0) (#297)
by Logi on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 08:09:37 AM EST

We've been raping, stealing, killing and so forth forever. In the last couple hundred years though we've been trying to construct a civilization!

Speak for your self/selves, some of us have been at this for thousands of years. Which is why we agree, of course.


Logi Ragnarsson. Some day we all shall be out of scope.
[ Parent ]
good point (none / 0) (#252)
by noproblema on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 06:42:38 AM EST

for a talk show. It works all the times.

why we need laws and tribunals and all that things? instinct is better.

[ Parent ]

Diff: Heat of the moment vs Cold & Calculated (none / 1) (#268)
by aramis on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 01:20:56 PM EST

To respond with deadly force in the face of [insert violent act -- murder, rape, etc.] is understandable. It is the visceral reaction to pure animal (in the lower brain sense) emotional RAGE. It's also on some level a reaction in fear and in line with the instinct to protect: He hurt/killed [loved one], I or [other loved one] could be next. I must stop him!

On the other hand, state execution is devoid of all of those mitigating factors. The execution is years after the fact. Rational thought has had plenty of time to assert itself over animal rage. The attacker is now in custody of a strong power, and having been convicted by a jury of his peers has little chance of getting out to act again*. You are safe, your loved ones are safe, killing the attacker in no way increases your own safety. The persons ordering and performing the execution have no direct involvement in the original attack. The execution is simply a cold, calculated murder of another human.

* This is assuming we can make 'life in prison' really mean that the only way you come out is in a pine box, but that's a different argument.



[ Parent ]
I wish, I really do... (none / 0) (#308)
by cdguru on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 08:59:04 PM EST

The truth is that people convicted of horrible, inhumane crimes that are often beyond most people's imagination are never in a situation where they are "in custody of a strong power" or in a position where they have "little chance of getting out to act again".

The US has probably the worst record of any nation on earth of letting people out of prison for reasons like "its too crowded" rather than "he has been rehabilitated". While it is quite likely that we don't really understand what "rehabilitated" means for people like Jeffery Dahlmer, we need to understand that the state corrections departments have very conflicting roles and requirements.

People that should never be let loose on society are let out. People that regard their stay in prison as an education in how to commit better crimes are let out to try their skills. So saying that we are safe from these people because they are in prison is not quite true.

Now, today's implementation of the death penalty is neither a deterrent or a cost savings. It is imposed far too late after the crime to have any deterrence whatsoever and the endless appeals make life in prison far more cost effective. But it isn't "forever" in prison. It is "until the prison is crowded". Or perhaps until his lawyer convinces people the sentence was too long.

If we are going to sentence people to "life in prison" because of the deeds they have done and the disregard they have for human life, it needs to be life. Right now, about the only way that people are assured some criminals will be removed forever is to kill them. Maybe not the nicest thing to happen and maybe not the most efficient, but it does take out the garbage.

[ Parent ]

Idealistically ... (none / 0) (#306)
by werebear on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 08:39:09 PM EST

At the risk of sounding overly idealistic - we don't kill these people (despite the fact they do indeed 'deserve it') simply because we are better people than they are. Obvious no ?

Doing to them what they would do to you is not a logically defensible position because these people are insane/evil/deeply damaged - whatever your preferred way of looking at it, it is because the *rest* of us are not 'evil' that we don't have the excuse to sink to thier depths.

By all means lock them up for life. Most of our nations are easlilyrich enough to imprison the true 'head cases' up for common good and so protect the rest civilisation. Problem solved surely ?

So why the need to sanction state sponsored exections ? Surely it wouldn't almost exclusively used as a cheap-ass way for politicians to appear tough on crime ? That would be just terrible ....

Oh.

(sorry - almost forgot to mention executing people with severe mental disability. Honestly, if that alone fails to at least slightly disturb the hell out of you then I suspect we don't have much common ground on which to debate ...)

[ Parent ]

You know, (none / 0) (#307)
by Sesquipundalian on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 08:48:32 PM EST

moral behavior is an abillity. Thus people who can behave morally and kill others when they need to, have more abillity than those who are merely intimidated into behaving themselves all the time.

Because I kill, and behave morally, I am better than you


Did you know that gullible is not actually an english word?
[ Parent ]
bzzt, sorry (none / 0) (#321)
by Harvey Anderson on Sun Mar 13, 2005 at 07:11:12 PM EST

You're still a dork.

[ Parent ]
Well, that's just their role (none / 1) (#276)
by jolly st nick on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 03:12:20 PM EST

Pragmatically, the most important aspect of the law from a legal standpoint is that it is consistent. If it weren't nobody would know what the law is.

As a result, a skilled justice doesn't reverse his court's decisions unless the prior decision was for practical purposes an utter travesty of logic. If it happpens to be merely a travesty of justice, or even a misapplication of legal principles, that really isn't enough for the justice to say, "everybody stop and get out, we're turning this car around." He can nibble aroundthe edges of the past legal principle, or he can split hairs in specific cases, but revoking the establish prior practice is something they rarely do, as they did in Brown vs. Board.

Arguably, this is the right thing. Drastic changes in law should be left to the legislative branch.

death penalty flawed (1.66 / 3) (#310)
by SonOfMan on Sun Mar 06, 2005 at 09:02:46 AM EST

The new testiment says to love our enemies, so an "eye 4 an eye" represents the old testiment way of doing things.  Another problem with the death penalty is innocent people getting convicted and killed.
--My Current Location is RiverView Psychiatric Center, Augusta, Maine {Patient Phone# lower saco}
Yes. (none / 0) (#313)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 10:15:04 AM EST

Jesus would bitch slap any "Christian" who he heard supporting the death penalty.

Well, actually, he'd just lecture the guy, sternly, but you know what I mean.

How many trolls could a true troll troll if a true troll could troll trolls?
[ Parent ]

kinky bastard (none / 0) (#319)
by Norkakn on Thu Mar 10, 2005 at 05:18:26 PM EST

he might even tip over their table and whip them

[ Parent ]
You know, if death penalty was to be logical... (2.50 / 2) (#318)
by fourseven on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 02:38:42 PM EST

You'd have to kill everyone who ever killed anyone just to "be fair", as some cockface below phrased it. Then you'd have to kill all the executors, because they in turn became murderers. And so on, until you run out of americans. You'd have to talk the last one into committing suicide. Pretty good solution, overall.

On the other hand, you may postulate that the death penalty doesn't really fix anything, only getting rid of the symptoms and not the causes of the violent, gradual, culturally embedded mindfucks that nurture and create the kinds of people whom you want to kill. Abolish death penalty, reduce the fear, in turn reducing the motivation for violence, and maybe crime would drop a bit. Finally, get out of this horrible crippling delusion that some people have authority over others, and are priviledged to enforce it. That alone causes enough trouble. The fear of authority, your being fed up and still putting up with it, that's what creates the slowly mounting pressure and brews the rabid venom that seeps out (as seen on some of the posts below..)

It has been said (none / 0) (#320)
by Grayworld on Sat Mar 12, 2005 at 10:29:19 AM EST

that the concept of capital punishment means those without the capital that get the punishment.


Fair but a bit unbalanced to be sure!

Judicial goblins | 322 comments (274 topical, 48 editorial, 0 hidden)
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