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POLL Are you in favor of capital punishment?

Or, do you feel it is ineffective? Please elaborate on your choice, if you feel strongly one way or the other.

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By Bikersurfer
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31 comments
1

It seems the debate boils down to one of details. Flawed system, costs, legal issues and so on. To me the premise should be one of how it affects the community. There are some horrific crimes committed and many serial killers will never be remorseful. I think capital punishment can send a message and should be applied in extreme cases. To eliminate a method of social punishment, I think, limits our response.

JackPedigo Level 3 Oct 18, 2017
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3

I have a degree and both psychology and criminology. In one of my classes I had to write a paper arguing for or against capital punishment. For this paper I had to read many peer-reviewed articles on this topic. When I started the research for the paper I had intended to write on the side for capital punishment. After reading more articles then I can remember I changed my stance on the subject. One the lessons I learned from my classes is that our criminal justice system is flawed (extremely flawed). Sentencing someone to death is not a simple thing. Even when a person is convicted it will take years for their sentence to be carried out. During that time thousands of dollars are wasted on court fees and appeals processes. In the long run it can cost more to sentence someone to death then it does to house them for the rest of their life.There is a theory applied in some of our laws called deterrence theory. We punish people so that person will be deterred from crime in the future. We also punish people so others will learn from that persons crime. Capital punishment is not effect when in comes to deterrence. Plus there are the moral questions behind capital punishment. Is it really moral to kill someone for killing other people? What about the methods used? Most states were the death penalty is still enforced use lethal injection. Is it truly a painless death? It is really a punishment we should do away with.

tcook7611 Level 1 Oct 16, 2017
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I see your argument, tcook. The pressure on police to solve crimes, the disparity in ability to afford representation, false evidence and wrongful convictions are all good arguments against the dp. As I replied to marvin (below), if we could isolate them on an island, or something similar for the rest of their lives, that would suit me.
killing someone can never be justified upon moral grounds. If killing is immoral then killing the killer is equally immoral. The true morality is that the punishment should fit the crime. Remember "Braveheart"----if it is that horrific---public execution maybe should be brought back?
0

Is there a way to make a prison term more of a punishment? Hard Labour or hazardous duties? Would the severity of punishment make allowing murders, rapists, pedophiles......to live, less objectionable? If so, how far do we take it? I like the idea of the punishment fitting the crime, but how do we adjust punishments in order to promote justice but avoid a revenge mentality.

marvintpa Level 5 Oct 14, 2017
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An acceptable punishment to me, as an alternative to dp, would be offenders being housed on a remote island in the middle of a large ocean with no possibility of escape, ever.
That reminds me of getting 'ostracized' like in ancient Greece. Banishment as the ultimate punishment is an interesting option. Could be expensive and hard maintain though. How long would it be before the rich and powerful find a way to pay smugglers to sneak their relatives off the island? But I still like the principle of the idea.
The Quakers used silence. This was done at Esatern State Penn, prisoners where supposed to think about their crime and remorse. No talking - none, or they’d gag you. More than a few went nuts. This is too extreme, but would periods of silence work.
0

If someone takes another life remorselessly without all reasonable doubt they don't deserve a life themselves and don't deserve the taxpayer paying for their prison existence. That said if they take a life and and do it under the name of religion some want to die as martyrs and therefor should be sent to the worst maximum security prison.

Martman Level 2 Oct 14, 2017
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Accused must be given every possible defense before we KILL him. This costs more than feeding him
2

I'm against capital punishment, & anyone who thinks different should be killed.

Freebean Level 1 Oct 14, 2017
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very droll!!
4

If someone killed a person who I loved, I would want to take them in a room and tear them apart. But, I'm happy to live in a society that will not allow me to do that. I'm amazed that so many people are willing to hand over their rights and to put the power of life and death in the power of the state. Of course it is heart breaking to see a murderer having happy days, even though in prison, while the families of victims suffer. I'm not upset that Jeffery Dahmer was killed, but I did not want the state to do it. Life is unfair and killers living a life is not, but we cannot give away our rights. Besides, what if we kill an innocent person who is accused of a crime? There is no such thing as being absolutely sure. People think that they are law abiding and it will never happen to them, but we know too many innocent people have been executed, and of course, one innocent person executed, is one too many.

daddy4pugs Level 6 Oct 14, 2017
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1

Some crimes are just that bad

GradyY6460 Level 2 Oct 14, 2017
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Anything done to a child, insofar as torture, rape, or murder, to me is inexcusable and merits the ultimate penalty.
2

I generally view capital punishment as state sponsored murder. However, in certain instances, such as, repeat offenders of serious crimes and Extensive evidence then maybe. Too many innocent people have been jailed for years or decades. If some one is to be executed there must absolute proof of guilt.

CS60 Level 5 Oct 13, 2017
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I tend to agree. Absolute, red-handed, caught in the act, heinous crimes. It's a tough question, I know.
The Miranda case is noteworthy: as soon as the police grabbed him he confessed---of course we all know how that ended. The court said he did not know he did not have to talk to the police and he was released and now everyone gets their rights explained to them. My issue is how ignorance replaced guilt? No question of his guilt, are we not all to be held accountable for our actions? How can any educated person set a killer free? There has to be a better way; a way to hold someone accountable and still set a standard where ---from this day forward a person will be informed of their rights, but ignorance does not absolve the guilty. Just sayin'.....
4

The state is extremely powerful, and even in well-governed jurisdictions, the various elements of the justice system can combine to convict innocent people. There are several well-publicised examples of this in Canada, and I'm sure many more in the US.

It's for this reason, more than anything, that I don't favour capital punishment. I think it is much more important to avoid having the state put an innocent person to death than it is to kill criminals, even if one attempts to limit the death penalty to certain extreme, egregious cases where it is thought that the crime is heinous and guilt is unquestionable.

tsjames Level 5 Oct 13, 2017
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I wonder how you would feel if one of the killers who gets freed them maims. rapes and/or murders your child, mother, wife---significant other? Might your feelings then change? Because that is what happens when they go free, everyone elses significant others are put at risk.
Yes, I fully concede that my views could change if my life were profoundly impacted by the actions of a criminal. But that doesn't remove the requirement to limit the power of the state. The false imprisonments that occurred were *so* egregious - do you really want a state to be putting innocent people to death, or having them languish in jail for decades? How would you feel if that happened to you or a family member?
4

I am not in favor of it. Most socially progressive countries don't have the death penalty and generally have lower occurrences of violent crimes and repeat offenders. They tend to focus on rehabilitation and prevention rather than an eye-for-an-eye approach.

VictoriaNeuronotes Level 6 Oct 13, 2017
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During southeast Asia, many Americans left America, many went to Canada....others went to war in Viet Nam. over fifty thousand of these people were killed and their choice was made irreversible, at that point the choice of those who made the choice to leave the country should have been made equally permanent. Victoria, I would challenge your label of progressive countries, remember when California was a progressive state? What set them apart was the education system they set up, primary and secondary education was without equal. While I agree that rehab should be the goal, that is reached through education. I noticed as I have lived that when the national economy is good and people have jobs that the crime rate is lower. People it seems would, in general, rather work than rob and steal. So may we conclude that there are many issues at work here and no solution is simple? However the idea of prison is usually defined as punishment; and in my personal opinion should be self supporting. Have you heard of the older people who want to go to prison for three meals and medical/dental....what does that say about our society?
Thanks for your comment, and no need for a challenge. I concur. Progressive is comprehensive and does include a focus on education and preventative measures to curtail social ills that lend to high rates of crime.
2

I don't believe the government should be able to have the power to kill anyone, no matter what they did. There are, however, certain instances where I wouldn't really care.

erodednotion Level 4 Oct 13, 2017
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Isn't the government the people?
Good point, atheist. We in California keep validating the dp, but it doesn't get used here.
3

It's not a question of effectiveness as a deterrent but of culling the herd of those persons who thru their actions have forfeited their right to life.

atheist Level 7 Oct 13, 2017
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I sort of see it the same way, atheist. Though executing a child rapist may not deter the next one, the one who is executed will never commit that crime again.
Of course the 'fly in the ointment' is; what about the innocent person who is sentenced to die? The whole process needs to be re-examined.
Bikersurfer, what is your position on the pedophile---who goes to jail, serves his time---probably very hard time---and is released; in the terms that a convicted murderer, bank robber, arsonist after serving their time--upon release they are to re-enter society as they have paid their debt. But the pedophile is subject to completely different rules? I understand the reasoning this is advocated, but if it is a life sentence, shouldn't we just kill them or keep them in jail? This seems to me to be the equivalent of cutting the right hand off of a thief in an Islamic country; barbaric and sadistic; crule and unusual. See my point? One way or the other---their sentence is over or it is not--cannot be both.
3

It is human revenge and it changes nothing.

Bingoboy Level 3 Oct 13, 2017
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The person is sentenced to death not b/c of the victims innocence (revenge) but b/c of their own actions (responsibility.
3

It's an insanely barbaric system of revenge and justice plays no part in murder.

ProudHeathen Level 4 Oct 13, 2017
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I think it is just when an individual who has commited an atrocious crime not be tolerated by society. Some people are broke & can't be fixed.
1

I think all parasites like violent gang members, murderers, rapists, pedophiles, criminally insane, con men and corrupt politicians should be shot in the head and tossed into a pit. It's quick, cheap, efficient, it would cause crime rates to plummet and propety values and local economies to soar and it would only benefit society and the human race as a whole by purging the trash from our collective genepool. Naturally non violent offenders wouldn't be killed, just the scum of the earth.

Freeman Level 4 Oct 13, 2017
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Like the Philippines right now? How well is that working?
Freeman - you're fucked in the head!
Don't whine at me because you're hung up on childish man made notions of right and wrong to the point that you can't see past your own nose, the weak and abnormal must die for the good of the species as a whole. It's basic natural selection and cold hard logic, nothing more, nothing less. Step outside of your tiny bubble for once.
I kinda don't mind the "corrupt politician" trump should be the first to go then.
To Freeman you sound like Hitler.
And you're the typical dime a dozen narrow minded SJW who calls everyone with a spine and the gall to dare have a mind of their own and an opinion that isn't yours a "nazi". No wonder your username is "lonely".
@Sunny I completely agree. He's a bloated simpleton who had his hand held throughout his entire life and he had his fortune handed to him AND he built a fortune destroying the lives of dozens of small business owners across the U.S. And the piece of trash never shuts up about his non existent success. The scumbag deserves to die on principal alone.
Freeman, you seem to have contradicted yourself in your original statement in the last sentence, where you said, "Naturally, non-violent offenders wouldn't be killed." Yet, above that you say, "... conmen and corrupt politicians should be shot in the head...." So, which is is it? Or, do you consider those to be violent offenders?
works for me as long as I get to decide who is scum---usually the ignorant and uneducated + the narrow minded who suffer from cranial rectitus. Any of these shoes fit?

1

I do think capital punishment should be reserved for repeat offenders and those that are 18 or more when they commit the offense

Harleyman Level 5 Oct 13, 2017
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let us hope that no one 17 1/2 rapes and kills your 12 year old daughter---you will not have to adjust your thinking
1

This is a tough one. I don't remember reading any statistics that support it as a deterrent. Don't have a lot of confidence in the criminal justice system either. Are the wrongful convictions that we hear about just a percentage of the total? can understand a victim's loved-ones desiring revenge, but basing laws on revenge seems like a slippery slope. Easy for me to say, no one close to me was ever murdered, raped etc.

On the other side, even though I doubt I'll ever be convicted of a horrible crime, if given the choice of punishments, execution might look better than spending decades in jail.

marvintpa Level 5 Oct 13, 2017
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3

This one is simple to me. There is an inherent hypocrisy in the state saying "Thou shalt not kill so we are going to kill you!" Social ills usually create felonious crimes. The penalty society pays for not addressing these social ills adequately is the cost of life-long incarceration, rehabilitation and/or punishment for offenders.

GareBear517 Level 4 Oct 13, 2017
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Religion says 'thou shall not kill'. Of course when that was written it meant only those in one's group - everybody else was fair game. I think it's incumbent on society to deal with horrendous acts in a way that realistically deals with the situation.
2

I don't believe in killing. Period! We used to think that people who were schizophrenic or bi-polar were possessed by demons or they were witches or their mother had done something wrong. We now know better. We have also learned about double Y chromosome men who have a much higher tendency to violence. I also know that fundamentalist Christians (or of any religious persuasion) are more likely to kill, maim or abuse in the name of their god.

There is also the problem of people being falsely accused and convicted as DNA testing has shown again and again. Blacks are more likely to be targeted and convicted. Watch the documentary, "13th" which refers to the thirteenth amendment to the US constitution.

I read a book about the Jonbenet Ramsey murder. One line in the book struck me forcibly. An attorney said that if you are guilty, get a good attorney but if you are innocent, get the very best attorney you can afford. Police in criminal cases are under a lot of pressure to solve murders as quickly as possible because the general public is fearful. Police often walk into a crime scene under that pressure and start making assumptions and then they build their case to match the evidence they claim they found. That evidence may have been contaminated or the crime scene improperly investigated and those kinds of mistakes and send an innocent person to the electric chair. I am not willing to take that chance. Sending an innocent person to prison ruins their life even if they are exonerated.

My belief is that all of these people need help. To punish them for something they may have no control over seems cruel. We may not yet understand their psycho-pathology but we may at some point. Yes, lock them up to protect society but it is cruel to kill them. We can be better human beings than that. Where is our compassion if we kill them because they killed someone else?

Capital punishment serves one purpose and that is to satisfy the victim's survivors some measure of revenge and "closure". Again, we may well be misunderstanding the convicted person's ability to control their actions. Where is our forgiveness? Where is our compassion? Must we have hate this person because s/he killed a loved one of ours? Does that warrant our rage and need for revenge? Again, I would hope we could be better human beings than that.

KLMFTFW Level 5 Oct 13, 2017
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To date, there is no effective method of changing a person's thought patterns. There may be in the future but in the meantime this is the most effective way of ensuring that the person will not re-commit. We're not talking about shoplifting. Do you really think that you could change a religious zealots mind thru therapy? Those who have been deemed mentally ill will be dealt with appropriately. According to you, all criminals are mentally ill & should be helped - some can & some can't. Tell you what - if you determine that a felon has been rehabilitated then let him live with you & if he kills again then you should go to jail for the crime of stupidity. Put your ass on the line. Once again I am not talking about the 'common criminal' but those who by the very nature of their crime have relinquished their right to live within society.
OK a couple of things. One, I probably should have stated up front that I am a liberal and an idealist and a pacifist.

Two, We can change people thought patterns with therapy. I know because I did it and very effectively with the help of a couple of excellent therapists and my willingness to learn and grown and fully participate in the process. I was physically and emotionally abused by my mother and molested by my stepfather. I spent 10 years off and on in therapy and learned how to understand my parents' limitations and reasons for what they did. I forgave them but I don't condone what they did. In my mother's case, she did to me what was done to her because that was all she knew. Now granted, I was a willing and active participant in that process but I think even reluctant people/prisoners forced to attend therapy would eventually be able to learn a better way to be a human being.

Third, I believe that when we, as a society and as the human race, no longer condone beating one's children as discipline we may actually raise trusting, caring human beings. Teaching a child that physical force and violence is the first option when facing a difference of opinion is not the way we want to go. Teaching children that they cannot trust the one person who is supposed to love them unconditionally only teaches them that they cannot trust anyone and that it's OK to assume might makes right. Consider that it is illegal to mistreat any animal but it's OK to beat our children. Really? Does that make sense? Raising children in love and with respect changes their entire perspective on how to treat other human beings.

Fourth, not all criminals are mentally ill. Some are just plan desperate because they are hooked on drugs or have lost their job and can't support their family or they are uneducated because they couldn't afford the cost of an education in America and so they find themselves being laid off and working 2 and 3 part time jobs with no benefits. (I've been there too). If society would guarantee a free university or technical school education to those who want it and provide a living wage to every citizen, there would be less crime and fewer people in prison.

Fifth, the heinous crimes like murder, mass murder, terrorism where loss of life is the outcome should be looked on as a mentally ill person. No rational person does those things. To them, murdering is like a sport or a personal sacrifice so they can meet their maker while killing as many infidels as possible. They need help and they MUST be kept away from society to protect society. Yes, lock them up. Yes, give them help. They may never be able to recover--in fact, that may be likely but killing them saves the state some money and it may assuage the grief of the victim's family. Apparently revenge is sweet. I think it is bitter-sweet and sad.
3

There are a lot of contradictions here. I'm going to stereotype just to make a point. Please forgive me.

Conservatives don't trust the government to do much of anything, except decide who is capital crimes.

Liberals are fine with killing unborn children, but not murderers.

I have personally seen the government bungle almost everything, so I have very little confidence the judicial branch can separate the guilty from the innocent.

And think about the jury process. How would you like to be falsely accused of a capital offense and have a jury full of people who believe in angels, fairies, demons, Adam and Eve, Noah's ark, etc.

It's not a comforting thought.

BD66 Level 4 Oct 13, 2017
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That's why juries should only be allowed to render a guilty/non-guilty verdict. The death penalty should be only handed down by an independent judicial tribunal that has re-examined the evidence & made a final decision bsed on that.
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There are a lot of contradictions here. I'm going to stereotype just to make a point. Please forgive me.

Conservatives don't trust the government to do much of anything, except decide who is capital crimes.

Liberals are fine with killing unborn children, but not murderers.

I have personally seen the government bungle almost everything, so I have very little confidence the judicial branch can separate the guilty from the innocent.

And think about the jury process. How would you like to be falsely accused of a capital offense and have a jury full of people who believe in angels, fairies, demons, Adam and Eve, Noah's ark, etc.

It's not a comforting thought.

BD66 Level 4 Oct 13, 2017
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You cannot excuse the jury if they convict the accused and than hand it over to a panel to pronounce death sentence.
2

Voted against. 20 years ago it was abolished in my country. It became a norm, and If someone speaks in favour of c. Punishment sounds inhumane. On the are hand, there are beast like monsters in the world who never stop killing, what to do with them? I feel confused.

Lonely Level 4 Oct 13, 2017
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2

Capital punishment is nothing more than murder by the state. It is not punishment but a twisted form of vengeance and often against a falsely accused individual picked up by police trying to fit the suspect into the crime rather than, doing the real police work of seeking evidence. How many people have been executed for crime they never committed?

HeathenFarmer Level 6 Oct 13, 2017
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You're right, it' not punishment - it's eradication
2

I only favor it if they are a serial killer, or guilty of war crimes other than that no.

Tejas Level 4 Oct 13, 2017
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On the other hand if someone hurts my loved ones id gladly ruin their life, I would also gladly take whatever consequences came my way after.
Of course the degree of the crime is considered.
Yeah, executions murder attacking civilian targets. All of the above.
3

Capital punishment is state sponsored murder in my view. I find it repugnant that so many assume that somehow justice is being served by killing another human being. First, the death penalty has shown itself not to be a deterrent to capital crime. Second, the death penalty in most cases turns out not to be a punishment but the escape the convicted person was seeking.

I have a plan regarding the issue of capital crime and its punishment. Ask if interested.

evidentialist Level 4 Oct 13, 2017
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Yeah, I am interested because part of me agrees with you but I know if my child was raped and murdered, I would want to personally rip the flesh of the man that did it.
I, too, am interested.
Please elaborate, evidentialist.
Capital punishment is condoned by society & carried out by the judicial system.
To eliminate a threat to society is not murder but a justified action.
Capitol punishment is not a deterrent but a solution.
Why would you want to punish someone for years? That sounds like revenge - makem suffer.
How do you know what a person is thinking when about to die? My observation is that they would rather live, even if it's in jail.
I'm glad there is some interest. Atheist, I am concerned about your response, mainly because it merely reiterates the opinion of the many. You also suggest that my posit that most are getting what they sought when murdered by the state. Just as a side note, I offer you this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNtRBTbQMkU

Now, the plan. First, when someone is convicted of what has come to be known as a capital crime, the sentence is an automatic natural life term. This has the advantage of being quick, decisive, and somewhat less expensive.

We reduce costs further by eliminating that special status of 'death row' and all that goes with it. These people would be housed in the general population.

The convicted person is expected to pay for his keep to whatever extent possible through work of one sort or another. I don't limit this to only these prisoners. The entire population lives under the same expectations. Because we occasionally make errors in the legal system (admittedly not frequent), these people will be given the opportunity to pursue their case like any other prisoner.

You may be surprised to know that we have built an entire industry around defending people against the death penalty and attorneys amass fortunes from it. Eliminating the death penalty also eliminates gravy train.

Finally, it fascinates me that atheists would consider defending the death penalty whose only defense are biblical pronouncements.
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