View Full Version : Capital Punishment

7th May 2003, 03:52
It's a very emotive subject, i know, but i can't help wondering why, when we have forensic evidence that can be accurate to the order of one in many hundreds of millions, sometimes even billions, why we cannot have the death penalty?

I agree that if the wrong man is convicted then it is a tragedy, but perhaps a "Death Row" system whereby there is a wait of say, 5 years between sentancing and the execution where any new evidence could be found and brought to the judges attention. If it is compelling enough, the man may be relesed, have his sentance reduced, or whatever.

Your Opinions?


7th May 2003, 17:41
Putting aside the morality and questionable deterent value of the death penalty for a moment.

Forensic science may be able to establish very convincingly who a particular specimen came from - what it cannot tell you is why the specimen was found at a particular location.

Traces of an individual's DNA may be found at a crime scene for a number of reasons. Moreover, the risk of specimens becoming contaminated during transit or in the laboratory may be small but it is non-trivial.

Modern forensic science may reduce the risk of errors being made but it does not eliminate them completely - and when they have been made they may be much harder to correct.

7th May 2003, 18:14

You may well have expected to get flooded with responses to this one and you still may, but I suspect not, mainly because the subject has been done to, err....death :rolleyes: previously on JetBlast and all the usual suspects have had their say, perhaps before you joined Pprune.

One thread worth looking at as a summary is this one (http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=53079&perpage=15&highlight=capital%20punishment&pagenumber=1) where Nostradamus (what ever happened to him? :confused: ) initiated a poll, whose result of 43-42 indicated what a polarising issue this is.

I think you'll find it's worth a read.

8th May 2003, 23:46
Absolutely right Binos however I will venture an observation. Over here justice happens quite quickly and the death penalty is carried out in public. There is still crime and the occasional murder however I would have to say that there is little if any doubt in anybodies mind what the consequences are for trangressions. They are severe and I have to believe that they are a deterrant because in twentyfive years I have certainly been exposed to less casual/ violent/ any, crime here, than in my leaves back to England.

9th May 2003, 00:38
The death penalty well let me tell you about my thoughts on the death penalty.

I am somewhat well conversed about the ultimate punishment that society can impose on an individual that has broken the laws and or rules of any given society. Laws are created and enforced for overhaul good of the majority of any given country, state, city, or in other words, ruled organized social groups. Right? No! In many forms of governments, as all of the people who read and post here in Pprune are aware of, there are many forms of single individual or small cabals' ruled nations. To simplify these terms, I am talking about countries ran by dictators, military and or religious juntas. These type countries make laws to keep the rulers in power. Therefore the laws of such countries are not to protect the masses or the majority of its citizens, but to assure no challenge to the ruling clique. In many countries today for a person to utter, print, publish or broadcast views negative toward the government in power is punishable by death. In these types of cases in my opinion the death penalty is not only unjustified but is a criminal act in it's self.

The history of the death penalty is very sad indeed. As all of us are aware of in the history of all of today's democracies the death penalty has been used capriciously and unjustly to keep the masses and/or ethnic groups in their 'place'. In medieval Europe a person could be put to death (horribly by torture) for stealing a loaf of bread. In some Asian countries in the past a person would be put to death for just looking into the eyes of a ruler. In some Polynesian cultures in the South Pacific a woman could be put to death for eating a banana, I'm not making this stuff up folks, honest. In the United States a black man could be put to death just because a white woman accused him of rape (if he wasn't lynched first). Because of this unreasonable irrational arbitrary use of the death penalty in history many enlighten societies banned the death penalty because of the indiscriminateness of its usage in past times.

I feel however that there is still a need for the death penalties today even in the most enlighten societies. In today's era of mass transportation and communication the old barriers that kept societies apart are no longer effective. Mountains, oceans, deserts and other natural barriers that separated cultures have been overcome by the miracle of mass air transportation. Before the advent of the airplane usually the only massive changes that occurred to any given culture was by war. Usually a religious war (yes I know, all wars are about power, religion was just an excuse). The small agrarian social unit has long been replaced with a newer more diversified multi-cultured and better-educated social-economical social group. Except in Afghanistan, where society is running backwards as fast as possible. Therefore because of the intermingling of these once isolated comminutes by peoples of different races, cultures, ideas and religions the status quo of any given society has been changed, wither the populous desired the change or not. Many things that were once taboo is now an excepted way of life except one. Murder.

Murder: the crime of unlawfully killing a person with malice aforethought. Mass-Murder: the crime of unlawfully killing of persons with malice aforethought, said persons need or not needed to be associated by any particular reason or fact. Serial Killing: the unlawfully killing of persons with malice aforethought of, relating to, or arranged in a series of it type persons. Any individual that commits any of the above acts should be removed from society permanently. There is only one way to assure that this person is, without a doubt, removed from society, death.

Some people argue that the death penalty is state-sponsored murder. I must disagree. In fact I feel that it is the state's obligation to permanently remove these people from society. When the freely elected government of any country, by the use of taxes, creates a justice system to serve and protect it's citizens that government assumes a moral responsibility to remove the threat of lethal harm by other individuals against it's law abiding citizens. Life imprisonment is not an assured process to guarantee the complete removal of murderers from society. Prisoners can and do escape, hostages can and have been taken to be used as ransom for the release of convicted prisoners serving a so-called life sentence, lifers have been released for humanitarian reasons and sometimes they are just released for no good reason (bribery).

The death penalty cannot and must not be used for any reason than murder. Rape, theft, political, religion or anything that is not murder can justify the death sentence. There must be no doubt what so ever about the guilt of the murderer. The over preponderance of evidence must show the guilt, DNA, video and/or multiple eye-witlessness. The manner of death must be quick and painless, no matter how horribly the murderers killed their victims. Lethal injection seems to be the most humane; at least that is what the people I talked to that viewed the Oklahoma City bomber's execution said.

In summation; I feel that it is the moral and legal obligation of the state to remove people who murder it's citizens. When an individual takes the life or lives other people with no remorse and did so with premeditation there can only be one punishment, the complete and total removal of said individual from society. If no other reason than that they can never do it again.

I thank you and wait for everyone's reactions.

9th May 2003, 03:20
How about the death penalty for failure to keep election promises? Anyone with a gun or a baseball bat could be the executioner.

After an excellent landing you can use the airplane again!

9th May 2003, 12:55


I do not believe that the state has the right to take a citizen's life. Full stop. No exceptions.

To apply the death penalty only for murder is to ignore the fact that the crime covers a wide range of actions. Incidentally, I have just re-read your post but may still be mis-construing what you have said. If so, I apologise.

A person can be convicted of murder if by doing an action they kill someone, even though there was no intent to kill that person. For example, someone commits an act of arson believing a building to be empty. However, it was occupied at the time and the prosection can show that an ordinary reasonable person would believe the building to be occupied.

Many murders are acts of impulse or circumstance. Others are, as you say, pre-meditated acts of intention. The same penalty cannot apply to all.

I suggest that for those cases where you believe the death penalty is appropriate, then life imprisonment should be applied. After all, in the United States, in at least the Federal jurisdiction, life means life means no parole.

As an afterthought, the death penalty in the United States is also applied in a very distorted manner. If you are non-white, poor and ill-educated you are far more likely to get the death penalty in a capital case than not.

The level of legal representation for disadvantaged people in the United States system is atrocious. More often than not, the first ground of appeal in such cases is the incompetence of the trial counsel.

10th May 2003, 01:53
Plovett, it is ok with me if you disagree, I have been known to change my mind, but not on this issue.

Possibly I could have been clearer in what type of case the death penalty should be applied. I agree with you 100% on your example case of the arsonist causing the death of a person. This is not nor should be considered a murder case, rather a case of first-degree manslaughter punishable by life without parole.

The death penalty should ONLY be applied when there clear evidence and proof that the murderer planed the crime, used the maximum force to carry out the crime, has no remorse what so ever over the death or deaths and will likely murder again. Such was the case of the Federal Building bomber in Oklahoma City, a case I am very familiar with.

Timothy Mc Veigh, the person convicted of the bombing, admitted to the act. In a statement to the press while on death row he stated (paraphrasing here) “I needed to make the maximum impact against the Federal Government, I’m sorry about the children but they were necessary collateral damage.” Thirty-seven children under the age of six were killed in the day-care center in the Federal Building, Mc Veigh was well aware of the day-care center and parked the truck containing the bomb in front of the center, for maximum impact.

No, there is doubt in my mind that the execution of Mc Veigh was justified. There is little or no question that he would kill again given the chance. Prisoners escape, it happens all the time. Mc Veigh was a member of ultra-ring wing militia movement and the risk of armed attempted escape was very high.

Mc Veigh’s associate, Terry Nichols, was convicted in federal court of bombing conspiracy and involuntary manslaughter of eight federal law enforcement agents. Nichols received life without parole in federal prison, a sentence I agree with. However our local District Attorney is now trying Nichols for the murder of the160 other people who were killed in the bombing and is asking for the death sentence. In my opinion a total waste of time and money serving no use at all. I mean what is going to happen, are they going to dig up his body after he dies in federal prison and then hang him? Give me a break.

There are very evil people on this planet and I have met some of them. People with absolutely no morals and have no qualms against killing people. To them killing a human is no different than you or me swatting a fly. These people continue to kill people while in prison. In one case a prisoner killed another prisoner in the prison cafeteria because the other guy got the last container of milk. In another case I flew a prisoner hit man who had murdered at least 10 other prisoners, his price of a hit was 4 cartons cigarettes. He was already serving life without parole so he had nothing to lose. He ‘retired’ after the US Government reinstated the death penalty.

One last note, the Mc Veigh/Nichols defense team received nearly 10 millions dollars for their defense.

Thanks for your response.

10th May 2003, 02:00
Putting aside the morality and questionable deterent value of the death penalty for a moment
If the death penalty truly were a deterrent, surely it would never have to be used?

Locking someone up and throwing the key away has one big advantage over topping them, IMHO.

If it turns out that they were innocent (and which system of justice can claim to be perfect?) then it's possible to apologise, compensate them handsomely and send them on their way.

It's rather harder once they've been executed. You could have a seance and tell them that you were very, very sorry but it's not quite the same.

tony draper
10th May 2003, 02:16
The trouble is they don't lock em up and throw away the key, they let them out again about on average 9 years later, drop the bastards.
The life sentence is a joke, as is the whole justice system in the UK, it exists to protect criminals and as a cash cow for bloody legal profession.

10th May 2003, 02:47
drop the bastards
And if the wrong person has been found guilty?
Don't pretend that it can never happen - you know as well as I do that it can.
What happens then?

tony draper
10th May 2003, 04:32
We accept 3000+ innocent people dying on the roads year after year as a price worth paying for our mobility.
So surely the occasional innocent person being hung is a price worth paying for the reduction of crime??

10th May 2003, 04:47
So surely the occasional innocent person being hung is a price worth paying for the reduction of crime??
Would you be willing to explain that to the relatives and loved ones of your "sacrifices"?

I'm sure they'd agree with you.

10th May 2003, 06:22


"It's rather harder once they've been executed. You could have a seance and tell them that you were very, very sorry but it's not quite the same."

Just out of interest, you may be closer to history than you realise.
Peter the Great, I gather, would visit the graves of some he had had executed in something like a seance, along the lines that it had all been for the best, really, as he was sure no one would appreciate more than the Departed.

10th May 2003, 06:24
Not sure of the source, but I remember hearing that a Sheriff in Northern California said anybody arrested should be killed and God should decide their guilt. Yes, a sheriff said that, and it was only about ten years ago.

I used to live just down the road from Placerville in California, Hangtown it used to be called, and there is a VOR there with that name. Old story, but there was no jail space, so anybody convicted of a crime would be hanged. Better than letting them go.

California has some really hick places in it, California is not all liberal and enlightened like San Francisco.

Same sort of thing happened to that British Nanny in Boston. By clever legal maneouvering the defence gave the jury the option of first degree murder, or freedom. Friggen ignorant jury decided somebody needed punishing, and although it was blatently not first degree murder, they convicted her of it anyway! Hick or what!

America is a pretty hick place when it comes to justice and punishment, but it's safe to walk the streets at night and nobody is going to slash your car tires.

So, con-pilot. Why should a government kill somebody in my name, when the crime was against somebody else? Murder may offend me, but the chances of me being murdered are slim, and killing people doesn't deter others. Lock the guilty up in my name, for ever if need be, but don't strap them to a bed and inject them with poison. I think the real victims of a murder are the relatives, and I don't want more blood to be spilt in my name just to make them feel happy. If the relatives want to be given a baseball bat and put in a room with the murderer then that's OK by me, that way the victim of the crime gets his revenge (and all the death penalty boils down to is revenge). Just leave me out of the blood-lust revenge bit of it.

tony draper
10th May 2003, 06:34
My post was slightly tongue in cheek, but it does show the irrationality we exhibit,as I said we throw our hands up in horror at the idea on on innocent wrongly executed, yet happily live with 3000 deaths a year on our roads.
Perhaps it proves the saying, one death is a tragety a 1000 deaths are a statistic, why do we pretend that every human life is a precious commodity when it is patently not true, read any newspaper or watch any news broadcast to see the lie in that.
Are there any figures on how many innocents have been hung in the UK since say 1900?

10th May 2003, 15:28
happily live with 3000 deaths a year on our roads.

I think you'll find, upon reflection that we do not live "happily" with that. Why the comparison anyway? Surely you cannot even begin to seriously attempt to draw a parallel between the two scenarios you give example of...


10th May 2003, 16:53
Revenge killing and deterrence can be interlinked though I would tend to think of capital punishment as being more deterrrant in nature than revenge. The punishment of a murderer by the forfeit of his own life is supposed to send a message. In most cases it does. When a society begins to send the message that crime does not pay and will be firmly dealt with crime decreases. When society begins to massage the system with the milk of human kindness there is an element of society that tends to take advantage and crime flourishes. I regret my simplistic observation I simply tell it how I have observed it in my lifetime and experiences in many parts of the world.

10th May 2003, 19:51
Agree absolutely. Over here you can leave your car unlocked, not have to watch over your shoulder at an ATM and have no fear of walking anywhere at any time of the day or night. If you break the law you will get a very severe punishment. this is a little off the main topic, but the death penalty can only discourage murderers. The present "life" sentence is laughable. I, for one, would be happy to pull the handle. The law is supposed to protect those that obey and respect society.

10th May 2003, 20:57
It's a very emotive topic and has been done a lot on PPRuNe in the past. In US states where there is the death penalty, it really has not been a deterent. And also we have seen over the past year or so, horrendous errors that have been uncovered by attorneys involving death row inmates.

You might recall the governor of Illinois issued a moratorium after a disgraceful case of police cover up was discovered regarding the prosecution of several men who were given a death sentance.

In Tennesee, a black man who was found to be mentally retarded, convicted of murder, is being given drugs by the prison medics to try and make him mentally fit so he can be given the death penalty!

Too many mistakes happen, it's just not worth having it.

Here is some information to ponder...

Since 1973, 107 prisoners have been released from death row in the USA after evidence emerged of their innocence of the crimes for which they were sentenced to death. Some had come close to execution after spending many years under sentence of death. Recurring features in their cases include prosecutorial or police misconduct; the use of unreliable witness testimony, physical evidence, or confessions; and inadequate defence representation. Other US prisoners have gone to their deaths despite serious doubts over their guilt.

Reviewing the evidence on the relation between changes in the use of the death penalty and crime rates, a study conducted for the United Nations in 1988 and updated in 2002 stated that "The fact that the statistics... continue to point in the same direction is persuasive evidence that countries need not fear sudden and serious changes in the curve of crime if they reduce their reliance upon the death penalty".

(Reference: Roger Hood, The Death Penalty: A Worldwide Perspective, Oxford University Press, third edition, 2002, p. 214)

Recent crime figures from abolitionist countries fail to show that abolition has harmful effects. In Canada, the homicide rate per 100,000 population fell from a peak of 3.09 in 1975, the year before the abolition of the death penalty for murder, to 2.41 in 1980, and since then it has declined further. In 2001, 25 years after abolition, the homicide rate was 1.78 per 100,000 population, 42 per cent lower than in 1975.

The most recent survey of research findings on the relation between the death penalty and homicide rates, conducted for the United Nations in 1988 and updated in 2002, concluded that "it is not prudent to accept the hypothesis that capital punishment deters murder to a marginally greater extent than does the threat and application of the supposedly lesser punishment of life imprisonment".

(Reference: Roger Hood, The Death Penalty: A Worldwide Perspective, Oxford University Press, third edition, 2002, p. 230)

10th May 2003, 21:02
I, for one, would be happy to pull the handle
Should you be in such a hurry to take away that which you can't put back? :confused:

20th May 2003, 16:03
Anyone who thinks that capital punishment is a deterrent to crime have only to look at the statistics of the countries that use it.

The US crime free, phooey!

21st May 2003, 00:32

You are half correct, sort of :)

The US is a funny old place. The nasty crime is really concentrated in certain areas where nobody with any sense goes. The cops do a good job of making sure nobody gets out of those areas into places where the 'decent folk' live. When they get the chance, they lock the 'bad guys' up for a very long time.

So us 'decent folk' don't really get to see the sort of annoying and intrusive petty crime that is so common in the UK. The cops and courts keep it away from us.

The only problem is that the cops don't do a very good job of differentiating between the 'decent folk' who commit a crime, and the 'bad guys'. I suppose you could argue why should they.

So I would say the 'decent folk' are really deterred from crime because the penalties are so friggen harsh.

The 'bad guys' are not deterred at all, because they don't care. Or they are so young when they get locked up for twenty years, they really are not old enough to understand what life or deterrence is all about. So it comes as a bit of a shock to them.

The death penalty doesn't deter murder one iota. Thats because us decent folk who kill people don't get executed, the bad guys don't know what they are letting themselves in for.

As far as I am concerned, crime does not exist in the US like it does in the UK, but I live in a 'decent folk' area.

(White collar crime is different, everybody does it, including the politicians, and they protect themselves and their own)'


Well, I have to catch a plane to London, I'm not looking forward to having to look over my shoulder when I come out of a pub at 11pm, because some drunk [email protected] wants to play games. Would never happen here.

21st May 2003, 02:39
S_S if looks could kill I can see the headlines now...

"Twin Death Rays of the 11pm Killer Babe Slay Careless Pubgoer"

27th May 2003, 18:30
Good Morning paterbrat,

I said

Well, I have to catch a plane to London, I'm not looking forward to having to look over my shoulder when I come out of a pub at 11pm, because some drunk [email protected] wants to play games. Would never happen here.

So I've been in the UK five days and it's started! Last night in a middling restaurant in Soho (London) some little ten year old brats were running around, standing next to tables, jumping up and down and shouting at each other. Not sure why they needed to shout, they both had mobile phones, obviously important for ten years olds. I politely asked their parents if they could ask them to sit down, which was not the right thing to do.

Abuse flew my way, including "Don't you speak to my f**cking children like that", and a guy who looks like he breeds pit-bull terriers got involved. Not being as handy as I used to be, and as I know two guys here who have had jaws broken for less, I backed down.

The UK is really going downhill, these people should not be out on the streets. I know some will say we should feel sorry for these people because they are a product of bad famiiles or something, but I don't see why I should modify my good behaviour for the benefit of these types.

Last week I was walking through Nottingham at lunch, and Brighton in the early evening. Both times there were drunk and foul mouthed people abusing passers by. I doubt that would last long in the States, cops don't like that sort of thing.

At least the beer is still tasty.

27th May 2003, 19:50
Interesting point, slim-slag.

I have no idea of knowing whether your point is true, but for all the times I wanted to show that the U.S. crime figures proved everything I wanted to demonstrate about their society, my research kept indicating that anywhere in the U.S. apart from, say, the ten top hot spots, people were free to walk in relative safety.

The crime figures, however, in the areas where nobody with a will to live would ever walk were so bad that average figures were distorted, as average figures tend to be.

I think we are all familiar with the scenario of walking innocently down the street and being accosted, first verbally, then physically, by the fringe-dwellers who have been marginalised by our obsession with the almighty dollar. I suspect, without figures to back me up, that because of the compressed area of the UK the likelihood of that happening is probably greater there than in the US or Australia for that matter.

I'm sure the stiff upper lips who haven't quite acknowleged the downside of Maggie's reign, like Send Clowns, will have figures to shout me down, and I declare myself open to the challenge, but in the meantime, I suggest that....

As ye sow. so shall ye reap.

Edited to say:

Jeez, How did this end up in a capital punishment thread? :confused:

27th May 2003, 20:05
Re alcohol abuse, I always wonder why in the States it's perfectly possible to have a beer during the game without being spoiled by groups of drunk hooligans as it happens in Europe. I stopped going to footie matches 10 year ago when my daughter was hit by an object thrown by these punks.

Sorry for going OT.......

27th May 2003, 20:26
OK, straying even further from capital punishment in response to Kwasi, I once went to a pyjama cricket game in Sydney. Never again, and I can only be thankful I didn't bring my daughters with me.

Test cricket is still mercifully free of such antics because it's boring to anybody with an attention span of less than a minute. But alas, the rest of spectator sport seems to be heading the same way.

Ahem, back on to topic...

err, I think soccer hooligans should be executed....... no trial.

28th May 2003, 02:52
Ah Bino,

Remember getting lost one Boxing Day at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (nasty jet lag and group of us had succesfully drunk QF out of beer on flight from London). First day of test match, and we were foolish enough to find ourselves in the old Bay 13. Unfurled Union Jack and seconds later was hit on head with a full tin of VB. Only place where they throw tinnies before opening them. Funny lot too, cannot really blame them, might have done the same myself.

Me thinks the thread got here because capital punishment was alleged to be a deterrent. Somebody claimed the US was a very dangerous land, then we got onto comparing US with UK.

My legal eagle brother tells me that most criminals don't think they will get caught. In the UK, if they get sent down for up to five years they think that's just part of the game. It's only when they get sent down for seven years or more that they get really annoyed. So according to him, the only way you will deter is to introduce severe sentencing. Up to five years just doesn't cut it.

Capital punishment doesn't deter because they don't think they will get caught, and they don't get to leave prison again to think about it.

Tiger_ Moth
28th May 2003, 19:30
I'm against capital punishment but I think life should mean life, not "10 years then you can get out if you haven't killed again".
However, if somebody did murder someone and the victims relatives killed the murderer I think it would be pretty unfair if they got a long sentance for that, hopefully they could plead extenuating circumstances or something and get off with one year or similar.

By the way, the best, most painless way of killing is shooting someone in the head, I'm sure everyone would choose a quick, painless shot in the head over an injection. By the way, how on earth can they justify still using the chair, especially when a quick shot in the head is so much cheaper, easier and better for everyone involved?

tony draper
28th May 2003, 20:06
Capital punishment might not deter them from commiting a crime, but it sure as hell stops those capitaly punished commiting more crime.

28th May 2003, 23:47
the best, most painless way of killing is shooting someone in the head,

Err, can you quote a reference for that? Perhaps somebody who has experienced both methods and let you in on the secret?

Mac the Knife
29th May 2003, 06:31
Tiger_M ol' sock - have you actually seen many people who've been shot in the head? It's generally quite unattractive, particularly with the larger calibres, although admittedly these tend to produce the quickest extinction. And it makes a fearful mess.

30th May 2003, 00:30
Well, here we go again, and call me old fashioned but I believe that killing people is wrong.

30th May 2003, 00:42
Quite right Rainbow, which is precisely why some propose placing them 'terminaly' where they won't do it again. And incidentaly which was the 'old fashioned' way of dealing with the problem!

tony draper
30th May 2003, 01:08
If we haven't got the courage to hang the bastards, why not lobotomise them, turn them into harmless cabbages.

Send Clowns
30th May 2003, 01:13
When someone mentions a shot to the head as the most painless death, the only argument advanced against this suggestion (although as a bald statement of fact this is suspect it seems reasonable as a hypothesis - the brain disintigrates before signals can possibly be sent) is Mac's complaint of the mess. This is an example of the fact that we are often only concerned about our own point of view. Why should the execution victim care about the mess? Why is it relevant to the pain of the death?

Note the Guillotine was intended as a painless death, but it has been proved that the head remains conscious after decapitation. What appears logically to be painless may not be!

On the topic of the thread I would have to say execution seems wrong to me. It always seems to be revenge, rather than justice. Our judicial system is being pushed that way, away from justice and towards revenge, by politicians and the "popular" press (Sun and Mail), so it is interesting to note the complete lack of organised support for the death penalty in this country.

Death penalty also seems a religious punishment, and a lot of the justification given comes from ideas of retribution from the monotheistic faiths, and ideas of heavenly judgement post-mortem. Well I believe that after death is oblivion, and I don't think religion should come into punishment. We can only decide what happens on Earth, as this is all we are certain of.

Mac the Knife
30th May 2003, 03:22
Sorry SC, I was being ironic there. I thought "shooting-in-the-head" to be a really silly suggestion that could only come from someone who had never seen the very unpleasant effects of an instantly fatal headshot.

Draper's "solution" is even sillier for a whole variety of reasons. Lethal injection is probably the least barbarous way of doing something intrinsically barbaric.

I'm still not personally sure what to think about the death penalty except that there are some people whose crime against society is so gross and who are so disturbed and dangerous that it will never really be safe to have them on the streets ever again. I'm not certain that keeping anyone in gaol for many many years is that much less barbarous than capital punishment either.

tony draper
30th May 2003, 04:33
Whats wrong with revenge?,at least its honest, not like his honour saying I sentence you to life imprisonment, when all that means is the scum will be out walking the streets in eight years.
If some body deliberatly killed my son/daughter wife father sister or brother, your damm right I want revenge, I would want to sit in on the execution, listen to the bastard scream his /her last breath.
Lot of lovvie touchy feely nonesense talked about how revenge is a bad for the person seeking it, bollix, believe me its one of the best feelings in the world.

30th May 2003, 04:55
But Drapes, you are requiring the rest of us get caught up in your revenge. When you whack somebody like this it's done in our name, and that's not very nice.

As I said earlier, if you want to handcuff the murderer and be given a baseball bat to have at him, I could look the other way. When you start to kill, you cross a horrible line.

Psychosurgery is a neat little trick, but who decides? Maybe one day you wake up in the unmarked van and find you have been identified as a suitable patient :)

30th May 2003, 06:47
Like many of our problems there is no blanket answer. Each crime should be taken on it's 'merits' and judged accordingly, unfortunately the legal system apears to bind the judge's hands with what the sentences can be imposed. In addition you have a number of high profile reversals of previous sentances on technicalities that seem to throw the sytem into doubt.

To err it, appears is well and truly human. Divinty, the order of the day.

West Coast
30th May 2003, 15:36
Slim slag
Something to at least consider beyond justice and revenge is the deterrent factor capital punishment should provide. As applied here in the US, we have failed. The death penalty has lost any deterrent factor by the clinical manner in which it is invoked. The only terror felt is by the condemned. That person is no longer a threat, its his homeys out on the street that may be carjacking that night that pose the present danger. Lethal injection has been compared to going to sleep in a peaceful manner and not waking up. True or not I leave that to experts. Its the perception that counts. It has become so passive a ritual that many seek death rather than appealing to courts for decade on end and spending the rest of their days in the pokey. For it to work, it must be graphic, disturbing, violent and public. I want the perps out on the street to have that in the back of their minds as they head out for the evening. It of course will never happen as described, but the third element of the death penalty might have some effect if it was. The sad truth is that an unborn child aborted by the parent(s) for the crime of bad timing dies in a far more grisly manner than a killer. I suppose that's another thread however.

30th May 2003, 17:01

Yes, executions should be broadcast on television so those who are doing the killing (the "people") can see what they are doing.

I remember reading in the California papers the graphic details of the last cyanide gas execution in California, quite disturbing and would certainly fulfil Draper's desire for a foul and nasty revenge attack. Ttwo of the three chemicals used in the lethal injection are also used when you are put to sleep for a general anaesthetic. People I have seen induced this way describe it as feeling drunk, and that is the last thing they say before they lose consciousness. It's over with quickly. I suppose the physical pain involves being restrained on a bed and having a needle stuck in your arm. The mental pain must be something else, if any punishment is to be considered "cruel and unusual" it must be that.

The scum on the street don't think they will be caught, or they just don't care. I seriously don't think they care. Public flogging them is a far better way of behavioural modification for them and their partners in crime. IMHO.

Abortion is the same as execution but totally different.

Edited to correct important error in sentence structure - less important ones probably remain.

30th May 2003, 19:53
Hush everybody please, can we hear what the sweet little old lady in the front knitting her sweater has to say... Now then Madame Defarge what was that again about the Aristos?

Tuba Mirum
30th May 2003, 21:06
It seems to me that if we don't involve ourselves in Herr D's justifiable (I think) desire for revenge, then we increase the risk that Herr D or one of his mates will resort to the baseball bat or worse out of sheer frustration with the system. (Nothing personal, Tony, just using you as an example.)
I believe a lot of the difficulty people feel with capital punishment lies in seeing the morality involved as a personal morality, i.e. on a par with one person killing another. In my view it's not - a state must have a different morality to an individual, otherwise how can we justify e.g. going to war?
To me, the only really effective argument against capital punishment is the one about doing it to the wrong guy.

Curious Pax
30th May 2003, 21:57
I don't believe you can legitimately argue in favour of capital punishment if you aren't prepared to be executed despite being innocent. It's all very well saying that a few mistakes are OK, but unless you are prepared to be that mistake, and subject your family to all that it entails then your argument fails (IMHO).

I also believe that if the quest is for a better society (ideally some crime-free utopia) then society needs to demonstrate to criminals that there is a better way - stopping to their depraved level won't achieve that.

Another poster stated the main reason that deterrence doesn't make much difference - people either think they won't get caught, or don't care (which includes crimes of passion). If you think about it rationally, spending 12 months inside for thumping someone outside a pub isn't exactly attractive, but no doubt a few people will be doing it after 11pm tonight.

I'll leave you to guess which side of the argument I am on!

Send Clowns
30th May 2003, 22:36
And I was being obtuse, Mac. I agree it is an impractical suggestion, mostly due as I say to the sensibilities of the public, but would still put it forward as a painless death.

31st May 2003, 16:22
Leaving us to struggle imperfectly to deal with an imperfect world.

A humane killer Mac does a much neater job on the head. The bolt leaves a small hole and minimal ammount of blood. However, having once watched a program dealing with medical oddities and seeing the case of a miner who had a tamping tool blown through his head and surviving, I can see there exists the possibility of this one not being infallible either.

31st May 2003, 19:14

Until recently, the civilised feeling was that States are only allowed to go to war for reasons of self defence or if there is an imminent attack. So the correct analogy would be a human can kill only if he thinks somebody is imminently going to kill him or cause him some pretty nasty harm, i.e self defence. I think that is what the law says, and very very few people would disagree with that.

Tuba Mirum
2nd Jun 2003, 20:52
Slim_slag, I think you're missing my point, which I may not have expressed clearly.

It's my feeling (and I'm open, of course, to correction) that many people who oppose capital punishment do so on the basis of a perception that the same morality which would forbid them from killing another human applies to the idea of a state killing one of its citizens as a judicial response to certain crimes. I'm not saying that a state needs no morality, only that the morality it needs is different from the one that you and I need: accordingly, I believe, much opposition to capital punishment is based on a misperception of the morality involved. That is my point.

My bringing in the question of waging war was intended to offer a parallel to illustrate the above point. Agreed, there are rules about when a state should go to war (and isn't that just a subject for debate right now!), but that doesn't detract from my point; and the question of when one person may kill another is not germane to my point at all. I think, though, that consideration of the morality involved in capital punishment benefits from consideration of the morality involved in waging war - both these things being the province of the state rather than the individual.

Hope I've clarified my thoughts for you.