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Old 8th February 2022, 04:44 PM   #1
Thor 2
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Death Penalty

Was somewhat surprised to find no reference to this on this forum when I did a search.

Given that a high percentage of posters here are from the US of A, and this being the last developed Western country retaining the death penalty in many states, I would like to hear their opinions.

Mind you I suspect that most here, being probably brighter that the average Joe Blogs on the street, would be anti the death penalty.
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Old 8th February 2022, 04:50 PM   #2
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Well, I may be an old-fashioned gentleman, but when it comes to the death penalty I say never on the first date.
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Old 8th February 2022, 04:55 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
Was somewhat surprised to find no reference to this on this forum when I did a search.

Given that a high percentage of posters here are from the US of A, and this being the last developed Western country retaining the death penalty in many states, I would like to hear their opinions.

Mind you I suspect that most here, being probably brighter that the average Joe Blogs on the street, would be anti the death penalty.
That is one way to invite open conversation, I suppose.

Maybe look under "capital punishment".

http://www.internationalskeptics.com...archid=5825447
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Old 8th February 2022, 06:04 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Warp12 View Post
That is one way to invite open conversation, I suppose.

Maybe look under "capital punishment".

http://www.internationalskeptics.com...archid=5825447

Thanks for the heads up. Looking through that thread, the topic of conversation seemed to be mainly about method of execution, whereas I would like to encourage discussion about whether capital punishment, of any method, should happen at all.
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Old 8th February 2022, 06:10 PM   #5
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An amazing number of the "thou shalt not kill" crowd are in favor of it. But of course that's what it says in their Book.
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Old 8th February 2022, 06:11 PM   #6
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At this point I'll assume it's another psychopathic thing that 40% of Americans support just to tweak the other 60%.
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Old 8th February 2022, 06:34 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
An amazing number of the "thou shalt not kill" crowd are in favor of it. But of course that's what it says in their Book.

As with so many topics the Book they refer to is all over the place on the subject of taking life.

Having done some research on the death penalty in the USA, there is clearly a preference in favour in the Bible Belt states.
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Old 8th February 2022, 06:39 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
An amazing number of the "thou shalt not kill" crowd are in favor of it. But of course that's what it says in their Book.
Well actually, their Magic Sky Deity is just fine with killing people, so long as they are either babies or "The Other" ("The Other" being the un-godly and unrepentant sinners).
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Old 8th February 2022, 06:39 PM   #9
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Without the death penalty, prisoners wouldn't be motivated enough to figure out what color hat they're wearing.
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Old 8th February 2022, 06:44 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
Thanks for the heads up. Looking through that thread, the topic of conversation seemed to be mainly about method of execution, whereas I would like to encourage discussion about whether capital punishment, of any method, should happen at all.
There are actually numerous threads on capital punishment. But, the link seems to have died.

I would ask, why would someone suggest that say, a self-confessed mass-murderer, should be kept alive?
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Old 8th February 2022, 06:50 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Warp12 View Post
There are actually numerous threads on capital punishment. But, the link seems to have died.

I would ask, why would someone suggest that say, a self-confessed mass-murderer, should be kept alive?
Begs the question of why myself or anybody else should get to decide when someone else shouldn't be allowed to live. Why don't you explain that first.
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Old 8th February 2022, 06:55 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by TheGoldcountry View Post
Begs the question of why myself or anybody else should get to decide when someone else shouldn't be allowed to live. Why don't you explain that first.
Begs the question of why myself or anybody else should get to decide when someone else shouldn't be allowed to live free.
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Old 8th February 2022, 06:57 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
Was somewhat surprised to find no reference to this on this forum when I did a search.

Given that a high percentage of posters here are from the US of A, and this being the last developed Western country retaining the death penalty in many states, I would like to hear their opinions.

Mind you I suspect that most here, being probably brighter that the average Joe Blogs on the street, would be anti the death penalty.
We’ll sure, if you sufficiently narrow the collection of countries then the US is alone in maintaining the death penalty.

I oppose the death penalty because getting it wrong is an irreversible error. I definitely oppose it for rape. Talk about disproportionate punishment.
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Old 8th February 2022, 07:03 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
Was somewhat surprised to find no reference to this on this forum when I did a search.
Originally Posted by Warp12 View Post
Maybe look under "capital punishment".

http://www.internationalskeptics.com...archid=5825447
Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
Thanks for the heads up. Looking through that thread, the topic of conversation seemed to be mainly about method of execution, whereas I would like to encourage discussion about whether capital punishment, of any method, should happen at all.

I'm surprised you had difficulty finding threads discussing whether there should or should not be capital punishment for certain crimes, since there have been numerous threads here discussing it over the years. Here are some links to a few of them:

From 2005, a 5 page thread: Death Penalty...Yes, No or Undecided?
From 2007, an 11 page thread: Death penalty is wrong, this is why..
From 2010, another 5 page thread: The death penalty.
From 2012, a 4 page thread: Death Penalty

And you can easily find more. Just click on the death penalty tag and it will bring up a list of the threads which discuss the subject. Granted, some of those are threads about particular death penalty cases or particular methods of execution rather than the death penalty itself, but I think you'll find that a good number of the threads which come up include the kind of discussions you're looking for.
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Old 8th February 2022, 07:24 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by TheGoldcountry View Post
Begs the question of why myself or anybody else should get to decide when someone else shouldn't be allowed to live. Why don't you explain that first.
You get to decide because you're you. Who else has the authority to tell you what you do and don't get to do?

The most anyone else can tell you is the consequences they envision, if you do something they don't agree with. And even then, it's up to you to decide if you want to live your life according to their vision.

This, by the way, is the fundamental principle behind the death penalty. Someone living their life contrary to your vision.
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Old 8th February 2022, 08:04 PM   #16
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Starting a few years ago I found it difficult to simply Google a few keywords and part of a thread title to find the thread I was looking for. I heard a few words here and there about the search function being messed up. I dunno.
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Old 8th February 2022, 08:28 PM   #17
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I think there can be little doubt that, at least in the USA, the death penalty is not a deterrent to murder - in fact, having a death penalty seems to encourage murder.

https://deathpenaltyinfo.org/facts-a...penalty-states



I'm wondering why that could be? Perhaps a person who has killed and knows they are facing the death penalty, has nothing to lose by killing more people, so they are more likely to cap witnesses?
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Old 8th February 2022, 08:32 PM   #18
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I think the abolition of the death penalty is one of the greatest human achievements. It's too bad the Greatest Country in the World mostly doesn't agree.
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Old 8th February 2022, 10:58 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Warp12 View Post
That is one way to invite open conversation, I suppose.

Maybe look under "capital punishment".

http://www.internationalskeptics.com...archid=5825447
Your link no longer works. Try these threads instead
Hanging as capital punishment

AG Barr directs Federal Government to resume capital punishment.

Capital Punishment: Always an Error, or only Sometimes?

Capital Punishment is not justice
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Old 8th February 2022, 11:10 PM   #20
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You want me to trust this government (and it's zombified citizens) to handle such an important matter? Hell no!

I am against capital punishment because humans are too stupid to be trusted with such things.
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Old 8th February 2022, 11:15 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
I think there can be little doubt that, at least in the USA, the death penalty is not a deterrent to murder - in fact, having a death penalty seems to encourage murder.

I'm wondering why that could be? Perhaps a person who has killed and knows they are facing the death penalty, has nothing to lose by killing more people, so they are more likely to cap witnesses?
Notwithstanding your obvious tongue-in-cheekness, this is probably a classic case of disconnect between causation and correlation.

Most criminals don't expect to get caught. Indeed, most don't even ponder the likelihood, let alone weigh up the consequences.
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Old 9th February 2022, 12:14 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Southwind17 View Post
Notwithstanding your obvious tongue-in-cheekness, this is probably a classic case of disconnect between causation and correlation.

Most criminals don't expect to get caught. Indeed, most don't even ponder the likelihood, let alone weigh up the consequences.
Yeah, it was a little tongue in cheek, but is not as if these stats are one off.

States with the death penalty consistently have higher rates of murder than those without over an almost 30 year period.... its irrefutable, the facts don't lie.

Its not a case of a small sample v a large sample either - 25 to 32 states had the death penalty over the period in question, 16 to 23 states didn't and two have the DP but had a moratorium that covers all or part of period in question (Oregon since 2011 & Pennsylvania since 2015) so their stats are included in the non-DP states as applicable.

Finally all those stats are on a year-by-year basis. Any state that abolished the DP during the period 1990 to 2019 was swapped in the stats to a non-DP state the following years.
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Old 9th February 2022, 01:39 AM   #23
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A barbarian punishment. And I even believe that in some states the relatives of the victim can come to watch the execution like this would be the bloody middle ages, ffs.
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Old 9th February 2022, 02:15 AM   #24
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Better 10 guilty men go free than one innocent suffer.

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Old 9th February 2022, 02:31 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by The Atheist View Post
Better 10 guilty men go free than one innocent suffer.

William Blackstone c 1760
What about the cases where there is no doubt? And please, don't pretend that there are no such cases.

How about, say, John Wayne Gacy? Was his execution acceptable?
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Old 9th February 2022, 02:34 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Warp12 View Post
I would ask, why would someone suggest that say, a self-confessed mass-murderer, should be kept alive?
Probably because those were the terms of the plea deal.

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Old 9th February 2022, 02:35 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Dave Rogers View Post
Probably because those were the terms of the plea deal.

Dave
We are talking about the concept of execution. Obviously, many are against it.
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Old 9th February 2022, 02:59 AM   #28
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There will be plenty of people who will try to equate "opposition to death penalty" with "bleeding heart liberal wants to set all child-molesters, rapists and murderers (proven or otherwise) free".

Uh...no. That's all sorts of logical fallacies right there, not to mention being wrong.

First, in my view, such convicts do need punishment. They are not good people, they don't deserve to live in society. But if they are dead then they cannot be punished any more. We can argue about what is cruel and unusual, but they need to be alive to be punished. Unless you are going to desecrate corpses which sounds fairly icky and antisocial, not to mention medieval. So execution is not punishment, it's a release from punishment.

Second, as has been mentioned many times, capital punishment is a one-way street that allows for no errors of judgement, no mistakes. Plenty of people have been convicted of horrendous crimes, including confessing to them, only to be fond not guilty many years later. Alas, some only long after they had been officially executed. Someone in jail can be set free and pardoned. Someone executed cannot.

Lastly, execution is not a deterrent. It really is not. The prevailing attitude of offenders is "may as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb". And then they go on to commit unspeakable crimes knowing they will never be punished for them really. It's the equivalent of the defiant "You'll never take me alive, coppers!" followed by the killing of hostages and bystanders while a blazing gunfight ensues. Did the death penalty have any effect on this sort of crime? It would seem it has never been a factor for consideration.
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Old 9th February 2022, 03:33 AM   #29
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For me the idea of the justice system is to help safeguard society whilst trampling on as few rights as possible. The prison part of the justice should be about keeping society safe. Which means that it should be about 1) rehabilitation and when necessary, 2) keeping people away from society when we can't rehabilitate someone. (Of course this is not easy nor cheap.)

We know that the claimed deterrent aspect of prison sentences doesn't have any significant effect on whether someone will undertake a criminal act or not so the only reason to have the death sentence is 2) as of course it does ensure the person is kept away from society. But then you have the many, many mistakes that we know happen and have happened for people who would be eligible for a death penalty if it existed.

Lifelong imprisonment for a crime you didn't commit is of course a terrible thing however at least there is always some hope that your conviction will be overturned or quashed.

I know that society is not ready to move to a rehabilitation first model, we want punishment so I've never understood why people want the death sentence as it means the criminal will never be punished for their crime. It is an interesting contradiction.

I personally would be happy in giving criminals the option to kill themselves. Now of course this could mean innocent people will kill themselves as they can't face the years in prison similar to how we can't undo the death sentence if we find they weren't guilty. But with good safeguarding processes we could avoid a lot of that. (Yeah I know!)

So overall I can't see any reason to have a death penalty.
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Old 9th February 2022, 03:34 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Norman Alexander View Post
There will be plenty of people who will try to equate "opposition to death penalty" with "bleeding heart liberal wants to set all child-molesters, rapists and murderers (proven or otherwise) free".

Uh...no. That's all sorts of logical fallacies right there, not to mention being wrong.

First, in my view, such convicts do need punishment. They are not good people, they don't deserve to live in society. But if they are dead then they cannot be punished any more. We can argue about what is cruel and unusual, but they need to be alive to be punished. Unless you are going to desecrate corpses which sounds fairly icky and antisocial, not to mention medieval. So execution is not punishment, it's a release from punishment.

Second, as has been mentioned many times, capital punishment is a one-way street that allows for no errors of judgement, no mistakes. Plenty of people have been convicted of horrendous crimes, including confessing to them, only to be fond not guilty many years later. Alas, some only long after they had been officially executed. Someone in jail can be set free and pardoned. Someone executed cannot.

Lastly, execution is not a deterrent. It really is not. The prevailing attitude of offenders is "may as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb". And then they go on to commit unspeakable crimes knowing they will never be punished for them really. It's the equivalent of the defiant "You'll never take me alive, coppers!" followed by the killing of hostages and bystanders while a blazing gunfight ensues. Did the death penalty have any effect on this sort of crime? It would seem it has never been a factor for consideration.
You only mention punishment and deterrent as reasons for having the death penalty. Are those really the only reasons you can think of?
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Old 9th February 2022, 06:02 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by Warp12 View Post
How about, say, John Wayne Gacy? Was his execution acceptable?
Absolutely not - and no jailtime either, he was obviously totally deranged: a lifetime in a closed ward.
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Old 9th February 2022, 06:15 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by mgidm86 View Post
You want me to trust this government (and it's zombified citizens) to handle such an important matter? Hell no!

I am against capital punishment because humans are too stupid to be trusted with such things.
Same here. I have no problems with the death penalty itself, in theory, it's the practical application I find lacking.
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Old 9th February 2022, 06:26 AM   #33
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Execution as a deterrent is just barbaric. You're going to kill somebody to teach abstract others a lesson?

But is it any less barbaric to throw them in a cage, taking away 95% of their human agency and stare at them till they die?

My primary objection is the chance of error, and that none of us should be playing God anyway. A young mass murderer like Nikolas Cruz from Parkland actually has the chance of redemption, and becoming a regular human. That opportunity shouldn't be snuffed out of a sense of revenge, which is what the death penalty is. It's not our job to seek an eye for an eye and spill more blood; it's our job to keep society as safe as we can.

But on the flip side yet again, Saddam Hussein got strung up, and the world cheered for whacking Bin Laden. We don't owe these people three hots and a cot on our dime, do we?
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Old 9th February 2022, 06:36 AM   #34
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While the death penalty is exceptionally deranged and worthy of special consideration, it's probably wise to keep in mind the greater context that the USA is an incredibly punitive nation in general. We imprison more of our population with longer, more severe sentences than any of our peers.

This country has a raging hard-on for punishing people. A truly diseased society.
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Old 9th February 2022, 06:55 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by The Atheist View Post
Better 10 guilty men go free than one innocent suffer.

William Blackstone c 1760
He was a bleeding-heart libtard!
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Old 9th February 2022, 07:04 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
But is it any less barbaric to throw them in a cage, taking away 95% of their human agency and stare at them till they die?
Obviously actual life sentence is pretty barbaric too - there should always be possibility of rehabilitation to everyone. But there are prisons like American prisons (mostly bestial and primitive) and then prisons like Nordic ones (mostly not bestial and primitive).

This is not actually that typical for Finland - but just as a bit of a provocation to the more punishment minded:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l554kV12Wuo
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Old 9th February 2022, 07:21 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
Yeah, it was a little tongue in cheek, but is not as if these stats are one off.

States with the death penalty consistently have higher rates of murder than those without over an almost 30 year period.... its irrefutable, the facts don't lie.

Its not a case of a small sample v a large sample either - 25 to 32 states had the death penalty over the period in question, 16 to 23 states didn't and two have the DP but had a moratorium that covers all or part of period in question (Oregon since 2011 & Pennsylvania since 2015) so their stats are included in the non-DP states as applicable.

Finally all those stats are on a year-by-year basis. Any state that abolished the DP during the period 1990 to 2019 was swapped in the stats to a non-DP state the following years.
Living in a state that says it is ok to kill bad people, might also influence your views on killing ' who you think are ' bad people.
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Old 9th February 2022, 11:00 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
I think there can be little doubt that, at least in the USA, the death penalty is not a deterrent to murder - in fact, having a death penalty seems to encourage murder.

https://deathpenaltyinfo.org/facts-a...penalty-states

https://www.dropbox.com/s/z7j1frolhi...ates.png?raw=1

I'm wondering why that could be? Perhaps a person who has killed and knows they are facing the death penalty, has nothing to lose by killing more people, so they are more likely to cap witnesses?
Or people in death penalty states are more prone to/accepting of violence.
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Old 9th February 2022, 11:08 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
I think there can be little doubt that, at least in the USA, the death penalty is not a deterrent to murder - in fact, having a death penalty seems to encourage murder.

https://deathpenaltyinfo.org/facts-a...penalty-states

https://www.dropbox.com/s/z7j1frolhi...ates.png?raw=1

I'm wondering why that could be? Perhaps a person who has killed and knows they are facing the death penalty, has nothing to lose by killing more people, so they are more likely to cap witnesses?
Probably more to do with the general failure of right wing policies to meaningfully deal with crime or poverty in any constructive way. The states that support the death penalty are also the kind to gut social programs that would alleviate the most severe forms of poverty and reduce crime.

I doubt the death penalty has much impact, positive or negative, on criminality. Often it's administered in a totally arbitrary way. It's just a bit of state brutality for the sake of brutality.

Last edited by SuburbanTurkey; 9th February 2022 at 11:09 AM.
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Old 9th February 2022, 12:31 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by SuburbanTurkey View Post
Probably more to do with the general failure of right wing policies to meaningfully deal with crime or poverty in any constructive way. The states that support the death penalty are also the kind to gut social programs that would alleviate the most severe forms of poverty and reduce crime.

I doubt the death penalty has much impact, positive or negative, on criminality. Often it's administered in a totally arbitrary way. It's just a bit of state brutality for the sake of brutality.
That is the best answer I have seen so far.

My opposition to the death penalty is not so much the actual execution of convicted murderers, it is the "edge" cases that concern me the most. Innocent people are on death row or have been executed because they were convicted on flimsy evidence, or when the prosecution withheld exculpatory evidence, or when witnesses lied or misidentified the killer. Once you execute someone, there is no way back if they later turn out to be innocent.

However, I have no problem with executing first degree murderers who pre-planned and carried out murders, and where there is zero doubt the person is guilty. For example, serial killers such as Ted Bundy, Gary Ridgway, John Wayne Gacy are the types of killers who ought to be removed from the population permanently and with prejudice. Same applies to irredeemable spree killers like Dylan Roof and James Holmes, and mass murderers such as Timothy McVeigh, Robert Chambliss, Thomas Edwin Blanton Jr., Bobby Cherry and David Lewis Rice.

Of course, the obvious problem arising from this is, what mechanism do we have for determining the difference between "reasonable doubt" and "zero doubt". I don't know the answer to that.
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