Hello everyone, i recently(20 minutes ago) started wondering what intelligent people thought about the death penalty, i consider myself by no means close to highly intelligent so i'd like to ask:

What do you think about the death penalty?

personally i don't like it, death isn't punishment fitting of crimes like rape, murder, kidnapping, child-molestation etc.

i think lifetime imprisonment is the way to go. ^^

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didn't look at it that way but i still think that locking them away for life when they commited crimes like murder and rape

Of course dangerous people should be locked up. 

Violent people should be incarcerated. Murder's and rapists are a scorge on society.


The problem with the death penalty is that there are too many mistakes. Even eye witness accounts are often wrong. 

Imagine what the guards would do to enforce this mandate”

Most likely it would be other inmates, not the guards.
Granted, this isn't an idea in which a lot of thought has been expended, and would need more safe guards and monitoring to even be considered.
Actually I don't think state sanctioned executions make sense for any reason.

They are more expensive than life incarceration. Death sentences require an automatic appeal, and most cases involve multiple appeals and/ or stays that go on for years.

The necessity for them no longer exits. Two hundred years ago there little or no infrastructure for long term, much less lifetime, incarceration of prisoners. At the time the only way to deal with serious or deadly crime was execution or deportation.

It's nothing more than revenge. Passive aggression, displaced aggression, vicarious aggression or whatever is a factor regardless of who pulls the trigger. There is also a very high percent of the religious right that are pro death penalty (that alone is enough to reject it) – I guess that would be “righteous aggression”

There are no positive out comes for anyone. Nothing is gained, sentiments like “cloture for the family” or ”now the family can heal” are meaningless, bullshit reasons to salve the public conscious.

It seems like some of the Sharia law people are so afraid of is already here.


I have mixed feelings, mostly because of the inability to know beyond not just a resonable doubt, but beyond *a* doubt that the violent crime was committed.  Yes, we now have DNA, but if it is a high-profile case, I'm sure someone can pay someone off to tamper with the evidence or frame someone.  I recollect a story in school, where we learned a man had been wrongfully imprisoned for murder for over thirty years and was finally acquitted (yes, he would have been imprisoned before DNA testing, but it still gives me pause.)  So I am not fully committed to the *practice* of the death penalty.


However, on the topic of retribution, do these rapists, child molesters and murderers deserve to die?  I would say yes.  I would not enact it retroactively, to give the bastards sufficient warning just to be fair.


Would society benefit from their deaths?  Yes and no.  The victims, in the cases where they are still living, would be free of the threat of further attack, their families would feel that justice had been served, and most importantly, there would be no worry of future victims from these particular attackers.   However, the criminals do have family members, so it will of course be traumatic to lose their father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, husband, wife, etc.


Would this frighten potential criminals and make these violent crimes less common?  Not really.  During times of widespread capital punishment, in particular during gruesome public displays of such as in hangings, burnings at the stake, beheadings, deliberate animal attacks, etc. there was not less crime, there was an abundance of it.  Granted these punishments were delegated for more than merely violent crimes, and there were plenty of people who perished without just cause, but still it was not the deterrent we might think it ought to be.


Should violent criminals be allowed to reproduce? Absolutely not.  I find it fascinating that we would not consider the audacity to say someone doesn't have the right to have a child, but yet we wouldn't hesitate to take their life (and consequently they would not be able to reproduce).  I think that if the crime is severe enough to warrant consideration of death, then the crime is severe enough to not allow reproduction.  I would only consider this for first degree murder, rape, child molestation and child abuse. 


Of course, putting such a thing into practice would be most difficult for the same reasons that it would be difficult to put the death penalty into practice.  At least it's better to not have kids than to be dead though in the case of mistaken guilt.  It would also be difficult to stop the person from reproducing, then we get in the sticky situation of do we actually take away their ability to reproduce and in that case it is an invasion of their body.  The counterargument is that they invaded someone else's body.  The counter-counter argument is that an eye for and eye and a tooth for a tooth makes the world eyeless and toothless, etc.


I think the most important reason for this discussion is not so much the retribution part, nor the deterrant part, but the making society a safer place part.  If we can lock these violent criminals away in a place where they can *never* get out, that would be best in my opinion.  No parole.  Solitary confinement so they can't interact with each other and devise plans for escape.  Cracking down on the guards to make sure they aren't being paid off to do whatever.  But of course, even in this situation there is corruption, and somehow some of these individuals would get out.


So I'm not sure what the best solution for the criminals is.  The most important thing is to keep them as far away from the victims as possible and for them to be removed from society.


As far as crime prevention, I believe in a hippie solution of having communications classes taught in schools from Kindergarten through 12th grade.  Children learn how to communicate their needs, how to share and work with each other.  Kids who are bullies get individual sessions with the teacher to get to the root of their aggression (it's usually from an abusive or violent home) and they learn how to express their feelings instead of taking them out on the other kids.  They learn how to be assertive instead of aggressive.  Kids who are victims of bullying learn to be assertive and stand up for themselves.  They are also encouraged to not keep such things a secret.  This would be a daily class year round.  Children would be expected to follow these communication guidelines in their other classes, and if they do not, they lose points in their classes.  If they do not pass communications classes they are held back a grade, so they have incentive to pass.  I also think it's imperative that all children have someone they can talk to about anything, and the guidance counsellors that most schools provide would need much more training and much more compassion.


It is my view that criminal behavior has its roots in family behavior and that many families are dysfunctional, and a lot of families are violent or abusive or sexually abusive.   It is so much more common that many people actually realize.  That's why it's so important to have emotionally strong children, especially for the ones who grew up in a challenging situation and are dissociating in their classrooms.   It's very hard to get through to these children because they will have learned to keep everything a secret, and some of them have strong mechanisms to forget about the traumas.


So, I believe in the death penalty in theory but not in practice.  I believe in taking away the right to reproduction for violent criminals, but I'm not sure if it could work ethically in practice.  And I'm very confident about making stronger, safer communities for children both in theory and in practice. 






@ New Atheist  I have mixed feelings, mostly because of the inability to know beyond not just a resonable doubt, but beyond *a* doubt that the violent crime was committed.

No crime has to be committed before being convicted of murder and sentenced to death as happened to Cammeron Willingham.


TRIAL BY FIRE by David Grann

I don't believe murder is a good deterrent against murder.
I think that mental torture is the way to go. If you want to punish someone, you find what they love and take it away. You find where they go and have everyone ridicule them. Maybe repeatedly do something that really bothers them. Maybe have all the people they meet do the repeated thing as well. Nothing like showing how much you hate someone. If you impose the death sentence, you end the situation with that person immediately, but to make someone live for years without dignity, or peace, or love, now that is the way to go!!!
hmm, that sounds a little like A Clockwork Orange...

And that method didn't really work out well did it? :)

It's probably one of the reasons I 'theoretically' prefer elimination over punishment. Rehabilitation and punishment only really work in a limited number of cases, and at what cost to society? I state 'theoretically' because the human mind is so feeble and faulty that consistently the same bunch of innocents always end up being erroneously eliminated... and that's certainly not desirable :(

The only important thing is that someone is punished.



Yeah, because revenge is the ultimate form of justice.


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