Thomas Paul: "I think you missed the point, Mike. The previous post had suggested that too many minorities were being executed. The obvious solution is too execute more white people, isn't it? Looking at the stats I also noticed that women are woefully under-represented on death row so we will need to execute more women as well."
Exactly. A few years ago in Texas a young white woman was executed for having participated in multiple murders when she was 18 and perhaps inspired by the film, "Natural Born Killers." She claimed to have repented and found Jesus, and to tell the truth, I would have tended to believe her. But the political price of showing mercy would have been too high. Had she been spared, defense attorneys for every convicted murderer sentenced to death would be raising legal appeals on the basis that the death penalty was "applied in a racist, sexist manner" -- and liberal judges would have lept on this as an excuse to find the death penalty unconstitutional. It's a bit sad, though, that liberalism has forced us to become so much less chivalrous.
Steven Broadbent: The (murderous berserker) who jumped out of the window was in France I believe.
Do you think he really jumped? I wonder whether the police threw him out the window, knowing that the courts couldn't put him to death.
Mike Curwen: My own very humble opinion is that whether or not anyone *deserves* to die is besides the point. It's whether or not any one of us has the right to take it. I've never cottoned to the idea that 'the state' can somehow reserve this 'right', while the rest of us would get arrested, and possibly share the same fate as our vicitim, if we were to perpetrate the same act, regardless of motivation or 'rightness'.
Well, by that logic courts couldn't sentence people to prison, either. But _someone_ has to do it! And someone will. If it's not the government, then it's going to be messier and less just. For example, in the 1970s the leftists running NYC decided that the city didn't have the moral authority to suppress street crime committed by "victims of society." As neighborhoods deteriorated, people who could afford to flee the city did so en masse. But in 1982 a girl I dated briefly lived in a Brooklyn neighborhood that was still just as nice as ever. She explained that this neighborhood was Mafia territory, and they believe in "Dont sh*t where you live" and wouldn't allow others to do so, either. The lesson is that _someone_ will fill the power void.
me, earlier: When government abdicates its role as the source of vengeance, society falls to a lower level of civilization in which people could only rely on their friends and family for vengeance. WorldCitizen: Wow. And I thought the role of the government was to ensure that justice was done. There is a huge difference between justice & vengeance.
Correct. Justice is carefully-measured and socially-sanctioned vengeance.
World Citizen: When we start using vengeance as the reason to prosecute someone; to execute someone then we are no longer capable of the most human of all emotions & virtues - compassion.
On the contrary. Just because we choose not to show compassion doesn't mean we're incapable of it. In fact, the Talmud points out that he who is compassionate when he should be cruel will end up being cruel when he should be compassionate.
World Citizen: Seems to me that a nation (I'm evidently talking about US) that was founded on the Christian principles, a nation where a large segment of the population (if not the majority) that subscribe to the teachings of Jesus Christ - the Personification of Compassion who would forgive his tormentors & executioners and who exhorted his followers to follow his principles - is paradoxically blood thirsty.
Well, not being a Christian I'm not really qualified to speak for them. But I do note that for 2,000 years there have been countries for which one form or other of Christianity was the official religion, and not only did all of them find it necessary to apply the death penalty for certain crimes, but Christian theologians through the ages found ample justification for the practice. That's not to say that we have to continue holding grudges against the executed, nor need we resent the entrance of their souls into Heaven when God forgives their sins.
Tim Baker: The only (British) people who are really for (death penalty) are ... the UK equiv of 'trailer trash'. Most people in the UK believe in human rights, which includes the right to life. Hence why so many people were against the war.
Actually, the war didn't much change the number of lives lost in Iraq; it merely affected _which_ lives were lost -- with war: our's and the Baathists; without war: Kurds, Shiites, and children suffering under the embargo. British opposition to the war is based not so much on a belief in the right to life so much as a belief in passivism (not to be confused with pacifism). [ December 23, 2003: Message edited by: Frank Silbermann ]
Umm excuse me but thousands of iraqi civilians have been killed in the war and since the war, as a direct result of it. It's this direct causing of death that the anti-war protestors are mainly against, it's not about ghandi style passivism. Now over time the scales of civilian deaths with and without war will probably tip back to war but at the moment they are definately at without war. It may not be featured on Fox news, but hundreds of iraqi civilians are being killed in the midst of the relatively few american soldier deaths that seem to be occuring every week.
Kim Jong II (North Korea's Dear Leader) said:Nuclear weapons don't kill people, people kill people.
Originally posted by Mike Curwen: It's whether or not any one of us has the right to take it. I've never cottoned to the idea that 'the state' can somehow reserve this 'right', while the rest of us would get arrested, and possibly share the same fate as our vicitim, if we were to perpetrate the same act, regardless of motivation or 'rightness'.
That's a little odd. The state is allowed to do all kinds of things that individuals can't do. For example, if I catch you robbing my house I can't lock you in my basement for 3 to 5 years with time off for good behavior. But the state can. The whole idea of a government is that we forfeit some of our rights to the state.
I know the state reserves and vests authority in itself for many purposes, which I fully accept as logical and necessary. My argument is against the right to put someone to death.
Joined: May 05, 2000
Originally posted by Mike Curwen: I know the state reserves and vests authority in itself for many purposes, which I fully accept as logical and necessary. My argument is against the right to put someone to death.
The state already has that right. The state can drop bombs on a city in a foreign country but you can't. In any case, you haven't actually made an argument that the state doesn't or shouldn't have that right. You simply expressed an opinion. If you have an argument as to why the state shouldn't have that right then I would like to hear it.