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Death Penalty

Jason Menard
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Joined: Nov 09, 2000
Posts: 6450
Is the death penalty in the US justice or state sponsored vengance? Is there a place for it? I think this is particularly topical seeing as the federal government just executed its first prisoner in quite some time.
Personally I'm quite glad to see McVeigh go, although that seems to be what he wanted too which is unfortunate. But luckily for him, death was the price of his crime. Our prisons need to go back to the days of hard labor, and prison needs to be an absolute living hell to which there is no adapting to. Maybe then we would have felt more comfortable letting his serve a life sentence. I also think that lethal injection was nice of us instead of the electric chair, gas chamber, or any other equally unpleasant method.
Daniel Dunleavy
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Joined: Mar 13, 2001
Posts: 276
In a perfect world I would be all for it.
My only problem is the 'mistake' factor. There have been a number of situations where they have found that someone was innocent 20 years later.
Dan
Dave Vick
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Joined: May 10, 2001
Posts: 3244
I agree I am personally for it but the mistake factor is a big problem. If we were absolutely sure someone were guilty I would like them taken out behind the court house and publicly shot or hung. No more 20 years of appeals, no more $20,000 - $30,000 in tax payer money to keep them in prison (which is quite a bit more than some honest people make in a year). And, most of all, a swifter, public penalty would be much more of a deterent than what we have now. As it is a person might consider the penalty but it is so far down the line (10 - 20 years) it is hard for them to imagine it. On the other hand if you know that you could be dead in a matter of days for doing something it would have much more of an impact on their thought process. Again, though, this would only work if we could positive that the person being executed was truely guilty - and, unfortunately, that is easier said than done.
Maybe if we implanted little camera's and digital recorders in everyones brain at birth .... OH, uhh, errr, sorry different topic.

Dave


Dave
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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Joined: May 05, 2000
Posts: 13974
The cost of executing McVeigh was estimated at $15 million so keeping him in prison at $50,000 per year for 100 years would only be 1/10 of the cost of executing him.
The question really comes down to justice. Was justice served by executing McVeigh?


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Jason Menard
Sheriff

Joined: Nov 09, 2000
Posts: 6450
Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
The cost of executing McVeigh was estimated at $15 million so keeping him in prison at $50,000 per year for 100 years would only be 1/10 of the cost of executing him.

I've heard similar figures before and I just don't buy it. I would be really intereested in figuring out where they come up with these numbers. What I suspect, is that these numbers factor in appeals and other trial related costs. On the other hand, somebody in prison for "life" also has access to the appeals process and these costs should be figured in for him as well. I also wouldn't be surprised if this figure factors in some kind of a facilities cost, since death row inmates are held separately from the general population. Many prisoners however are held in special facilities separate from the general prison population so that cost would have to apply to them as well, and I suspect the number of these prisoners is greater than the numbers of prisoners on death row. Further, a high-profile prisoner like McVeigh may have warranted such separation from the general population and confinement to a special facility, we just don't know.
Anyway, my point is that I have always thought those kind of numbers were bs numbers massaged by opponents of the death penalty. But if anyone can provide a full accounting of how such a figure is arrived at it I would be very interested in seeing it.
Jason
Greg Harris
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Joined: Apr 12, 2001
Posts: 1012
i do not see how it could cost $15 million to kill that jerk... i would like to see the money accounted for as well.
on the topic of the death penalty: the mistake factor is a major concern. however, if we know for sure (like with mcveigh) then we should take them out behind the court house 5 minutes after the trial and put a bullet in their head... and take the cost of the bullet out of their pocket (assuming they have money).
the prison system is just "part of the job" for a lot of these career criminals... kind of like going to a high school reunion... they do not care. so what, they spend 2 years in jail, then they go back to doing whatever they were doing before. i really believe that if we had tougher penalties like some middle eastern or asian countries do then our crime rate would go down! we are just too damn concerned with protecting everybody's "feelings." we have become too soft on crime.


what?
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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Posts: 13974
Originally posted by Greg Harris:
i really believe that if we had tougher penalties like some middle eastern or asian countries do then our crime rate would go down! we are just too damn concerned with protecting everybody's "feelings." we have become too soft on crime.

Ummm... the crime rate is down... significantly.... to levels we haven't seen in 30 years.
Greg Harris
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Joined: Apr 12, 2001
Posts: 1012
true.
what i meant is that if we had tougher penalties (like public caning (sp?) as they do in singapore for rather simple crimes) the criminals might think twice before they commit the crime. i saw a report on television a while ago about the prison system. some of the inmates actually said that doing time (going to jail) was just part of the job... they simply do not care! why? because jail is EASY!
heck, after the 4 years i spent living on a ship prison would probably be a walk in the park for me... at least i would get to sleep more than 3 or 4 hours in prison. and, i would not have to stand 7 or 8 hour watches every 12 hours.
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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A friend of mine was a social worker in a prison (talk about awful jobs). He told me that there was an invisible line around 6 years of prison time. Prisoners who served less left with the same attitude they went in with. Prisoners who served more never wanted to see the inside of a prison again. Prison is not a nice place.
Joel Cochran
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Joined: Mar 23, 2001
Posts: 301
There are two theories of punishment, Deterrent and Retributive.
Deterrent Punishment is pretty much a joke. The Death Penalty has existed since the dawn of civilazation and done nothing but prove that no matter what a Government threatens to do criminally minded people will still ... amazingly enough ... commit crimes.
Our only alternative then is Retributive Punishment. If you want to call it Vengence then I have no problem with that. Let's not mince words here, it is an ugly, hateful, spiteful thing to intentionally put someone to death regardless of how 'humane' the method. And you know what? I'm all for it. When the crime is especially heinous, and the evidence is overwhelming, and the defendant is incorrigible then Vengence can be a weapon of Justice.
I think we don't do it enough. I think that we try to fool ourselves into thinking that life in prison without the possibility of parole is better. BS! It is only better for the consciences of the policy makers.
If you are never going to release someone, then there is no point in trying to rehabilitate them unless you approach it from a judeo-christian standpoint (which in all other affairs of government is taboo!). A sentence of Life without the possibility of parole is, in it's very essence, a sentence of Death by Prison.
Someone brought up money. Why do we pay $25-40k a year for people to be in prison? There are a lot of law-abiding Americans who no matter how hard they work don't have a hope of making that kind of money. They don't have the security, or the guaranteed sources of power, food, and shelter that our distinguished convicts are afforded.
OK, so say we are investing in Rehabilitation...what are we getting for our money? Show me the product of their labors. It is no longer politically correct for them to provide manual labor to the state, or make license plates, or build roads. So what do we get? A segment of the population who thinks the hardest part of commiting crime is not being able to go outside too much ... but that's OK 'cause they pipe Cable right into the cell block, and don't forget those conjugal visits!
To quote Joseph Conrad ... "Oh the Humanity!"
------------------
I'm a soldier in the NetScape Wars...
Joel


Wait a minute, I'm trying to think of something clever to say...<p>Joel
Greg Harris
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Joined: Apr 12, 2001
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or, "The horror, the horror..."
(also joseph conrad)
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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Posts: 13974
Originally posted by Joel Cochran:
There are two theories of punishment, Deterrent and Retributive.
Many people who serve prison terms are deterred from repating their crimes. It is true that their is a high rate of repeat felons but the rate is certainly not close to 100%. Also, deterrence includes not only deterring criminals from committing crimes again but also deterring you and me from committing crimes in the first place. Deterrence certainly works for that purpose. There is also simply the issue of justice. It is just that people who commit crimes pay for them. In fact, the only argument that makes sense for the death penalty is the question of justice.

To quote Joseph Conrad ... "Oh the Humanity!"

This quote was actually by WLS radio announcer Herb Morrison, on May 15, 1937 as he described the crashing of the zeppelin Hindenberg in Lakehurst, NJ. The actual quote was, "all the humanity..."
http://www.nlhs.com/tragedy.htm
Joseph Russell
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Joined: Jan 08, 2001
Posts: 290
Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
Many people who serve prison terms are deterred from repating their crimes. It is true that their is a high rate of repeat felons but the rate is certainly not close to 100%.

I have a lot of respect for you Thomas, but what kind of logic is that?
[This message has been edited by Joseph Russell (edited June 13, 2001).]
sravana reddibathini
Greenhorn

Joined: Jun 06, 2001
Posts: 26
I think the concept of putting some body in prison or executing him/her is wrong.
prison should be a place where criminals are reformed.
it should develop sense of love and understanding for the fellow humun beings.
why not Govt think on these lines?.
when we are able to send space crafts to mars , why not modern science look at ways and means to change the psychology of a criminal and make him a better humun being.
did the relatives and friends of McVeigh's victims got real closure by seeinf him die.
i only feel they are as cruel as him.
i would have never watched him die if my sis/bro/mom/dad were one of his victims.
sravana.
Greg Harris
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Joined: Apr 12, 2001
Posts: 1012
i know i shouldn't bring religion into this, but since america is (or was) prodominately christian, our laws are based on the bible... and, from the bible:
Exodus 21:24
"And if men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child so that she has a miscarraige, yet there is no further injury, he shall surely be fined as the woman's husband may demand of him; and he shall pay as the judges decide.
But, if there is any further injury, then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot."

so, when these anti-death penalty people get on t.v. and say that they are christians and that the death penalty is inhumane... they obviously did not get very far in their bible! this is in the second book... a law from the beginning of time.
[This message has been edited by Greg Harris (edited June 13, 2001).]
Jason Menard
Sheriff

Joined: Nov 09, 2000
Posts: 6450
Originally posted by sravana reddibathini:
I think the concept of putting some body in prison or executing him/her is wrong.
prison should be a place where criminals are reformed.
it should develop sense of love and understanding for the fellow humun beings.
why not Govt think on these lines?.

The main reason for putting somebody in prison is to protect the rest of society. It is the government's job to protect society from those who are unable to function as a member of it.

when we are able to send space crafts to mars , why not modern science look at ways and means to change the psychology of a criminal and make him a better humun being.

So putting somebody in prison is bad, but forcefully altering their personality is good? This sounds like Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange. Criminals are responsible for their own actions and need to be held accountable.

did the relatives and friends of McVeigh's victims got real closure by seeinf him die.
i only feel they are as cruel as him.

This is a pretty sick and unfeeling statement. The victims are as cruel as the person who killed 168(not sure of this number and too lazy to look right now) men, women, and children?!?! Wow I just find that an incredible statement. Are you aware that there was a child daycare center in the building he bombed? McVeigh was well aware of it and had zero remorse for it. Are there many worse ways to die than being crushed under tons of rubble? McVeigh wasn't even human and was totaly unworthy of any feelings of sympathy. He was a truly evil cancer that needed to be eradicted.
There will never be real closure for any of them, but as many said, they can now go to sleep at night without worrying that McVeigh will do the same thing again. Society is now safe from him.

i would have never watched him die if my sis/bro/mom/dad were one of his victims.

Really? Why not? You wouldn't owe that much to your family? Personally, were I in that situation, I think I would have felt that it was my duty to watch him die. The victims who did watch him die were there for various reasons. About all of them said they were looking for some sign of remorse for what he had done. There was no such sign. Others were hoping his death would provide some kind of turning point where they would at least be able to move on with their lives. None of them expressed joy or satisfaction at his death.
But at least you can go to sleep tonight never having had to live through that experience, but knowing you are a better, more moral person than those who did.

[This message has been edited by Jason Menard (edited June 14, 2001).]
Anonymous
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Joined: Nov 22, 2008
Posts: 18944
Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
The cost of executing McVeigh was estimated at $15 million so keeping him in prison at $50,000 per year for 100 years would only be 1/10 of the cost of executing him.

uhh dude... 1/3.
cost of execution: $15 million
cost of keeping in prison for 100 years @ $50,000 p.a. = $5,000,000
so using your numbers the cost of keeping him in prison for 100 years would be a third of the cost of executing him.
I know that's not really the point though. I just like to see things add up.
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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Joined: May 05, 2000
Posts: 13974
Originally posted by Cal Q. Lator:
uhh dude... 1/3.
Stupid MicroSoft calculator!
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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Originally posted by Joseph Russell:
I have a lot of respect for you Thomas, but what kind of logic is that?
I'm not sure what you mean. The point is that prison is not a perfect deterrent. I have a feeling that for some people there could never be a perfect deterrent. But for many people, having served time in prison they will lead honest lives in order to stay out of prison.
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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Originally posted by Greg Harris:
so, when these anti-death penalty people get on t.v. and say that they are christians and that the death penalty is inhumane... they obviously did not get very far in their bible! this is in the second book... a law from the beginning of time.
Christians actually have 2 parts to the Bible... the Old Testament and the New Testament. Christians didn't stop reading whern they finished Exodus. Jesus said that you must love your neighbor as you love yourself. He didn't say you must love your neighbor unless he killed someone. Justification for the death penalty must come from love and justice not vengance.
As the wise man once said, "eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth" leads to a lot of one-eyed people wearing dentures.
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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Originally posted by sravana reddibathini:
I did the relatives and friends of McVeigh's victims got real closure by seeinf him die.
i only feel they are as cruel as him.
As cruel as someone who without any provocation murdered 168 men, women, and children?
Originally posted by sravana reddibathini:

i would have never watched him die if my sis/bro/mom/dad were one of his victims.

I doubt very much that you know what you would do if your 2 year old child was murdered.
Andy Ceponis
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Joined: Dec 20, 2000
Posts: 782
Im all for the death penalty. But i am against the current methods we use for accomplishing this goal. I say fry more people. Use the chair like it was used in the green mile when he forgot to wet the sponge. Now that is a deterrant. Or use the gas chamber where it takes hours or days to die in there. To make it more economical i say we start using large gas chambers so we can cram dozens in at a time.
I think the concept of putting some body in prison or executing him/her is wrong.

I couldnt disagree with you any more. Someone commits crimes let them pay for their deeds. But i agree that prison is wrong. I think it should be a living hell not a prison. Just like someone else said.
prison should be a place where criminals are reformed.
it should develop sense of love and understanding for the fellow humun beings.

Your parents were hippies right? Peace love and acid dood.
did the relatives and friends of McVeigh's victims got real closure by seeinf him die.
i only feel they are as cruel as him.
i would have never watched him die if my sis/bro/mom/dad were one of his victims.
sravana.

You think the people who watched him die are cruel? Im sorry to say this but what is wrong with you? How can you even think of saying something like that?
And if someone killed someone i knew and loved i would be at the execution with one of those big fingers they wave at football games. Id be jumping hysterically and taunting the person about to die. It would make my decade when i saw the pain in his eyes. There could be no better feeling. I have no sympathy for violent criminals who kill for no reason.
Joel Cochran
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Joined: Mar 23, 2001
Posts: 301
Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
Christians actually have 2 parts to the Bible... the Old Testament and the New Testament. Christians didn't stop reading whern they finished Exodus. Jesus said that you must love your neighbor as you love yourself. He didn't say you must love your neighbor unless he killed someone. Justification for the death penalty must come from love and justice not vengance.
As the wise man once said, "eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth" leads to a lot of one-eyed people wearing dentures.

Jesus also said "Let ye who is without sin cast the first stone" and "what you do unto the least of these you do unto me."
I am a Christian and I do support the Death Penalty. "Give unto Ceasar that which is Ceasar's"... somtimes Ceasar demands justice for the greater good.
Thomas, as always, you are an excellent debator. Of course deterrent punishment is not totally ineffective and regardless of what I may say I realize that prison is no bed of roses. I just worry about the liberal forces in our country that are so afraid of stepping on a convicted criminal's rights and yet can somehow stomach partial birth abortion.
I think that the only true deterrent is as swift and harsh a punishment as befits the crime. But that is just me... since there seems to be no end in sight for the "innocent man" concerns (which are truly justified), then I don't see any real reform in our punitive system any time soon.
BTW..."the horror, the horror" was what I really meant to say, and that most certainly was Joseph Conrad.
------------------
I'm a soldier in the NetScape Wars...
Joel
[This message has been edited by Joel Cochran (edited June 14, 2001).]
Joseph Russell
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Joined: Jan 08, 2001
Posts: 290
"to the pain"
The Princess Bride
Thomas: Since I don't think there is a mehtod that deters people 100% from crime besides death itself, I didn't see the logic in your argument.
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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Originally posted by Joel Cochran:
I think that the only true deterrent is as swift and harsh a punishment as befits the crime. But that is just me... since there seems to be no end in sight for the "innocent man" concerns (which are truly justified), then I don't see any real reform in our punitive system any time soon.
To me, the key is justice. And truthfully, the historical context of an "eye for an eye" is that justice should be done. At the time, it was quite common to execute people for what we consider trivial offenses. "eye for an eye" really means that the punishment must fit the crime. Justice must be done. I don't find any other argument for the death penalty convincing other than the question of justice. Was it just that a man who murdered 168 people had his life taken from him? I would be hard pressed to argue that justice was not served.
Greg Harris
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Posts: 1012
Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
Was it just that a man who murdered 168 people had his life taken from him? I would be hard pressed to argue that justice was not served.

so what should we have done? keep this guy in prison for another 40 - 50 years? he showed no remorse, he said that the children in the day care were "collateral damage" and he seemed to believe he was doing the right thing. totally ignoring the $15 million, why should we spend tax money to keep this kind of person alive? i do believe that some criminals can be rehabilitated, but someone like mcveigh? i don't think so.
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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I don't think money should be the issue. The issue must be isolated to justice. Everything else is a side issue. The only question that matters is, "was justice served".
Andy Ceponis
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No, justice was not served. Just WOULD have been served if they had killed him with chinese water torture or leting him bleed to death over several days.
Greg Harris
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okay, let's pretend it doesn't waste tax money.
what is justice for such a crime? what is a suitable punishment for someone who knowingly, voluntarily kills 160+ people? do we put this guy in jail for 20 years? 30 years? what does he, or we, gain from that? is he going to rehabilitate and become a productive citizen? doubtful.
i am a Christian, and i have read "both parts" of the bible. yes, Jesus did say to "love thy neighbor as thy self..." but he also said "do unto others as you would have them do unto you..." i do not think he could be more clear than that. obviously mcveigh did not love his neighbors as himself (he did not love himself in the first place) and what he did unto us, we did unto him. i know this is pretty weak, but i think i am making my point.
Connie Boyd
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Posts: 73
Jesus said do unto other as you would have them do unto you, NOT do unto others what they have done to you. There's a pretty big difference there. And he also said to turn the other cheek, but quoting the bible to support anything is a pretty useless endeavor as you can interpret just about any part of it however you want.
I'm not going to get into this thread too deeply, as there are some sentiments and undercurrents that I find somewhat frightening. I would like to say in sravana's defense that I wouldn't be at the execution either. I'm in no position to judge how other people will deal with their grief, but for me personally, I have no interest in watching anyone or anything die before my very eyes.
Ashok Mash
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Joined: Oct 13, 2000
Posts: 1936
I can't agree with killing some one just because he acted against the State. But, democracy is that thing, what majority believes.
Isn't this punishment is also a type of extremism? And What should we do with all Timoty McWeigh s are still out there on prowl, around the world ??
Oh.. I wish, we had that simple memory erasing technique of Men In Black (MIB)!
Ashok.

[This message has been edited by J Ash (edited June 15, 2001).]


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Greg Harris
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like i said, my analogy was pretty weak. i did not mean that we should act against him in a vengeful way... that is a sin as well.
what i meant is that mcveigh acted against the public in an extremely violent way. there is not one single reason anyone should feel sorry for the punishment he received... he knew very well that killing so many people in such a useless way could very well end his life with the death penalty. he was an intelligent person (caplable of understanding the consequences of his actions) so he could not claim temporarty insanity.
the law is there for a reason... jails are there for a reason... the death penalty is there for a reason. obviously mcveigh did not care. however, if we spared his life then a precedent would have been set for other criminals to argue against when they were faced with the death penalty. if the government lets one person slip through the cracks, then the next year 2 more will slip through...
we had to make a statement with mcveigh because his case was so high-profile. if we let him off then other potential crimnals would assume that they may "get away with it" as well.
don't get me wrong, i would not be at the execution either. i do not want to watch anyone die, no matter what the circumstances. maybe if my family was killed by a terrorist then my attitude would change? i cannot say, and i am glad i have not been in that position.
Conrad Kirby
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Posts: 178
I am absolutely against the death penalty. However, I am totally for life in prison. I just wish prison could be a living hell for everyone. For instance, if a prison cell was nothing but a cement cube with a tiny slot to put bread and water, then that would be the way to do it. Imagine being in that cube, in the darkness for the rest of your life. You have two choices, starve to death, or stay alive and go pretty much insane. I would really like prison to be more like that.
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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I am in favor of the death penalty but only in extreme cases where there is no doubt as to guilt. I would think that McVeigh would satisfy that equation.
Conrad Kirby
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Your only giving him just what he wants...
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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That's nice. I wonder if, as he receives his rewards in the afterlife, he still is happy he was executed.
Conrad Kirby
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Why are you so certain there even is one? You can always go by mere faith that he will burn in hell, but why not give him a living hell? Then he gets twice the fun.
sajida kal
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Joined: Mar 22, 2001
Posts: 89
Very often perpetuators of such crimes get away on mitigating circumstances. I am referring to cases where extreme psychological problems are established.
I just heard about this lady who drowned her kids, apparently as a result of suffering from post natal depression. Determining whether it was cold-blooded murder or temporary insanity is certainly going to be very tricky.
Sentencing someone to life imprisonment or to death boils down to answering what was the motive. At lot of times, establishing that motive requires us to delve into the working of another human mind and we all know how difficult and subjective this can be. With Mc Veigh there is no doubt that he deserved to go.
But what about the two British kids who killed a toddler ? They were released and will live under assumed names now. I am not arguing for the death penalty for them. Yet, how can one be certain that they are fit enough to get back to mainstream society? It feels like we are bending over backwards to rehabilitate criminals who have been accused of extreme crimes.

George Brown
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Joined: Sep 26, 2000
Posts: 919
I don't think that your bringing up the case of the two british kids that killed a toddler has direct relevance here.
The assessments being made in their case are to make sure that they are no longer a threat to society, and when/if that is found to be so they will be released. I think one of them is due for release and the other is still being assessed.
Capital punishment (the topic being discussed) was abolished in the UK a while back.
I'm just curious to know, when you say 'we are bending over backwards...', what country it is in which you reside?
sajida kal
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Joined: Mar 22, 2001
Posts: 89
George,
I agree the issue of the two British kids is not directly linked to the original topic of discussion. Previous posts in the same thread have touched on topics such as reform and rehabilitation-which ultimately bank on psychological evaluation for success.
Going forward on that, I was putting across the thought that given how subjective and error prone a psychological evaluation can be, it is a difficult task to decide to imprison/execute/release a criminal when the nature of the crime is particularly violent and gruesome.
By any standards, expecting the kids to be locked up forever is very harsh. Yet to consider releasing them (or as you have pointed out releasing one of them and assessing the other) at this stage seems a little hurried. If they are evalauated over a longer period of time(which could be over a couple of years or more), then the risk of a faulty evaluation would be less.
btw, when I said 'we' I was referring to modern society as such and not to any particular country. fyi I am an Indian living in Singapore.
Sajida
 
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