General Question

buster's avatar

Do you believe in capital punishment?

Asked by buster (10216 points ) May 29th, 2008

I think it deters crime. I think if it was used more and criminals had less appeals it could be more effective. Its more of a criminal justice issue than a human rights issue. Read up on Singapore, its crime rate and how its used in that country. They execute more people than any other country in the world and there crime rate is remarkably low. I googled “Singapore crime rate” and found a lot of information that show the effectiveness of capital punishment in that country. I would like to hear your opinions on the topic.

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92 Answers

judochop's avatar

an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.

Megan64's avatar

I used to when I was younger but now I don’t see how you can kill someone for killing someone. It doesn’t make sense to me. Even in the case of serial killers; I mean there’s obviously something medically wrong with those folks, can they really be held accountable? I don’t think they should be running free but it doesn’t seem right to kill them. I mean that’s what we’re doing, right? The word “execution” is a cop out. It’s taking a life, so it’s killing and I can’t get behind killing of any kind.

jlm11f's avatar

I agree with you. I usually get stares from everyone when I speak for capital punishment. But my opinion is that when someone takes another person’s life, they lose the right to their own.

Quick edit – I will try to expand more later, but I am having trouble phrasing my sentences due to wanting to finish my book!

judochop's avatar

why should a killer be allowed to live? Why should my tax dollars and anyones job be to support someone who disregards moral law?

marinelife's avatar

I think civilized society should not be in the killing business. Further, I don’t really see how we dare when we have in the past and may well in the future be executing innocent people. Until our judicial system is more error-free I don’t think killing even one innocent person is justified.

shilolo's avatar

First of all, the data do not support capital punishment as a deterrent. In fact, if you compare the murder rates in death penalty versus non-death penalty states, the numbers are either the same or lower in non-death penalty states. Why is this the case? No one knows, but, some criminologists have argued that people committing crimes in death penalty states realize they have nothing to lose, and do crazier and more violent things.

Second of all, there have been a number of high profile cases where people were exonerated from death row. For example, in Illinois alone, there have been 13 people exonerated in the past 25 years, prompting the governor of Illinois to suspend the death penalty. They had exonerated 13 prisoners and executed 12 in 25 years! That is NOT A GOOD ratio.

One has to ask, if Illinois, not a state with a high death penalty rate had 13 men exonerated, how many innocent prisoners have been executed in a state like Texas, which has applied the death penalty far more liberally?

marinelife's avatar

Well said, shilolo!

ketoneus's avatar

Capital punishment is about revenge, not justice.

If it is such a deterrent, why are there still murders in Texas? Too many innocent people have been sent to death row and later freed. If murder is wrong and the state murders an innocent man by executing him, then all citizens of that state in effect become murderers.

Lock people up. Don’t answer killing with killing.

bulbatron9's avatar

You’re wrong about virtues of Christianity
And you’re wrong if you agree with Sean Hannity
If you think that pride is about nationality, you’re wrong

You’re wrong when you imprison people turning tricks
And you’re wrong about trickle down economics
If you think that punk rock doesn’t mix with politics, you’re wrong

You’re wrong for hating queers and eating steers
If you kill for the thrill of the hunt
You’re wrong ‘bout wearing fur and not hating Ann Coulter
Cause she’s a cunted cunt

You’re wrong if you celebrate Columbus Day
And You’re wrong if you think there will be a Judgement Day
If you’re a charter member of the NRA, you’re wrong

*You’re wrong if you support capital punishment
And you’re wrong if you don’t question your government*
If you think her reproductive rights are inconsequent, you’re wrong

You’re wrong fighting Jihad, your blind faith in God
Your religions are all flawed,
You’re wrong about drug use, when its not abuse
I hope you never reproduce

You’re getting high on the downlow
A victim of Cointelpro
You’re wrong and will probably never know

marinelife's avatar

@Bulbatron9 First the shoe video and now this fantastic one. Do you have a You Tube videos favorites list I could look at? Thanks so much for both of those.

buster's avatar

its not a deterrent because the people sentenced to death are rarely executed in the u.s. in most cases its about the same as life in prison only you got your own wing in the prison. did any one read up on capital punishment in singapore? they dish it out. the people act accordingly. yes it is also about revenge. victims families deserve this closure. people do horrific things to other people and its not good enough they get to sit in jail, earn college degrees, eat hot meals, watch tv, and live.

buster's avatar

sometimes nofx is wrong bulbatron.

bulbatron9's avatar

I guess, but when have you been right?

By the way, Buster and I are the best of friends for thirteen years! So, don’t judge us as not knowing each other!

buster's avatar

suppose someone killed your wife and unborn daughter bulbatron. i know you would personally kill them. i am right about that right?

shilolo's avatar

Buster. Would you care to cite your statistics about Singapore? I have spent the last 15 minutes searching, but since Singapore itself does NOT release statistics on crime (and punishment), I am curious where your “data” (and I use that term loosely) comes from.

That said, even if (again, a big IF), it is a small deterrent, how do you deal with the fact that innocent prisoners are likely being put to death (see my example about Illinois).

To turn your question to Bulbatron on its head, what if you were imprisoned on death row for a crime you didn’t commit? We follow Singapore’s lead, and promptly execute you. Not much chance for exoneration then, is there?

bulbatron9's avatar

Hell yes I would kill them if “I” knew they done it! What else would I have to live for?

The fact is “democracy” is blind! Who is the government to judge! If the judge had seen the murder transpire, then “off with the head”, but let’s say you’re convicted of killing my family! I know you didn’t do it, but a jury of you’re peers finds you guilty. Should you be sacrificed by your government? What you’re saying is yes, you uber right winged buster!

buster's avatar

singstat.gov.sg/pubn/papers/people/crimeinspore.html

i never said an innocent person should die. i do know something isnt working in our country because there is a lot of crime and a lot of prisons and a lot of prisoners.

bulbatron9's avatar

How do you know who is “innocent”?
Were you there?
Did you see the crime happen?
Who are you to judge anyone?

buster's avatar

what is a good way to deal out justice?

ebenezer's avatar

maybe if people could petition to voluntarily be capitally punished we wouldn’t have to make this decision. Just another…

AstroChuck's avatar

Not only is it morally reprehensible and barbaric, it does nothing in the way of deterring murder. It is not doled out fairly among the population and its really just to fulfill this medieval need for revenge.
As Gandhi put it., “An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.”

shilolo's avatar

So I just took a look at their statistics, which are rather meager. Still, it is interesting to note that the murder rate in Singapore is still higher than Tokyo and Hong Kong (both do NOT have the death penalty). I would venture to say that the high crime/murder rate in our country has a lot more to do with how readily available are guns. Death penalty or not, we are going to continue to have higher murder rates than other countries simply because more people have deadly weapons at their disposal.

buster's avatar

are you still drinking bulbie?

bulbatron9's avatar

Hell yeah!

What, are you going to try to have me executed for drinking some wheat beer and listening to Dethklok?

buster's avatar

if it deterred other people from drinking wheat beer then i see no other answer.

shilolo's avatar

Be careful, carry a little bit of weed in Singapore and that’s what would happen to you (not making any assumptions bout you bulbatron…)

bulbatron9's avatar

@ Busta: Fucking HIPPIE!

@ Shilolo: I don’t smoke weed, eat pills, or any other illegal activities! I drink beer! However, I have been skateboarding for about 13 years, and that is illegal in “some” places! Although, not in “The Shed of Shred”!

shilolo's avatar

No problem. You’d be somewhat safe from execution in Singapore, but skateboarding is probably punishable by some very painful and public caning.

Hmmm. Maybe Singapore isn’t all bad.

spendy's avatar

I did a debate and term paper on capital punishment (way back when). The huge problem I have is that our tax dollars are being spent to keep these offenders comfortable. Some have access to libraries, gyms, and the like. Horse shite, just total horse shite. The amount of money that goes into maintaining the facilites, paying staff, etc. is ridiculous. And as far as holding them accountable? Yes, many of them “suffer” from mental illnesses, but let’s get real. We’re all a little mentally ill in one way or another. It’s the human condition. Some of us just choose not to manage our illness by slitting throats. Why should we pay for their dive off the deep end? Can anyone offer an alternative that’s fair to the rest of us?

bulbatron9's avatar

@ Shilolo: HaHaHa! I would just build an indoor ramp for some poor, unfortunate Singaporean kid, and skate the fuck out of that $#!+.

New Mission – After my daughter is born I’m going to Singapore, just to build ramps!

spendy's avatar

@bulbatron…do you realize you just used $#!+ in place of shit, but typed out fuck? :)

The wheat beer must be good.

bulbatron9's avatar

Yep! Good times! You still lurve me don’t you, spendy?

spendy's avatar

no doubt ;) you crack me up

ebenezer's avatar

spendywatson- assisted suicide.

shilolo's avatar

Good luck with that. Steer clear of the vandalism prohibition since everyone knows skate/snowboarders are a bunch of punk vandals. You might get 3–8 strokes with the cane.

I gotta say, I love that if you are sentenced to death in Singapore, you are prohibited from being caned. I mean, they need to show some common decency! Oh, the irony.

spendy's avatar

@ebenezer, how ironic

buster's avatar

i wonder how much a gram of blow cost in singapore. if you smuggle it in without being caught and beaten its got to be an exorbitant price.

spendy's avatar

$8.50

just kidding

bulbatron9's avatar

@ Shilolo – OH GOD DAMN! You are an awesome “wordsmith” with matters of health, but who are you to stereotype me as a vandal? Sure, I LOVE punk music, but you vandalize people’s insides by cutting into them! I’ve never cut into someone, claiming “I can save your life!”

—JOKE—Shilolo is an awesome doc, from what he says on fluther! I would gladly turn my head and cough for him!

buster's avatar

you did burn down that plastic mailbox bulb

bulbatron9's avatar

Yeah, ten years ago, but just don’t give the address!

ebenezer's avatar

Bulb- health vandals? Only plastic surgeons… And pill pushers.

Randy's avatar

An eye for an eye and a hand for a hand makes us a world full of blind stubbies. =)

spendy's avatar

(still laughing out loud @randy)

shilolo's avatar

Umm. Getting a little testy are we. It was a joke. Chill out.

bulbatron9's avatar

Reread it! I was joking, too!

Wait, “little testy” ; Turn your head and cough joke goes great with that!

shilolo's avatar

Still confused, but, no problem
Glad we got off the capital punishment thread, it was killing me…

bulbatron9's avatar

HAHAHA! Great pun!

I just hit F5, and still nothing new! I guess I’ll hang out in this thread for a minute!

shilolo's avatar

No fair editing your responses to look witty. And let me tell you something, I hate that part of the physical exam. That said, if you are ever my patient, you would definitely need the full exam.

shilolo's avatar

Who the hell is this Dethklok character?

ebenezer's avatar

bulb- it is awsome. What is that all about?

ebenezer's avatar

Wallpaper. I was squinting my eyes looking for abe Lincoln. Cool.

margeryred's avatar

ABSO-F*cking-LUTELY!!!!

Fry the bastards! I absolutely cannot stand that when the victim is face to face with his/her captor/criminal they have NO RIGHTS!!! So get the people moving along and why should the tax paying citizens (and often times the victim) have to pay for the incarceration of the criminal. Common, hasn’t the victim paid enough!?!?!

Limit appeals and fry em! My take is this… if I was to go to death row, whether it was something I committed or not (God Forbid!) It would basically be God’s will if he allowed me to go down that path. So I don’t have as much empathy for those who are innocent on death row….

Ever talk to an inmate? I haven’t met one that was guilty of their crime… THEY ARE ALL INNOCENT!

wildflower's avatar

You honestly think having a court ruling on your side makes it OK to take someone else’s life??? Seriously??
So, if it’s OK for a court to rule that someone should be killed, and the court represents the people, is it then also OK for the people (a.k.a. lynch-mobs) to decide that someone should be killed? And what about an individual who is well versed in criminal law and is known to have good judgement and act in accordance with popular opinion, are they also allowed to kill?
How can you realistically agree with one of these and not all – but if you agree with all, where do you draw the line? Who’s allowed to kill and who’s not?

breedmitch's avatar

Two wrongs never make a right.

margeryred's avatar

wildflower…

This post says ” Do you believe in capital punishment?” Not do think it is alright for us to go and kill someone because they deserve it.

No, the system is not perfect… but I guess I just feel for the victim’s more than I do the rights of a dirt bag who kills, rapes, tortures, etc… I just wish we could do to them what they did to their victims. (how they did it)

shilolo's avatar

So, margery, what if that so-called “dirtbag” is your brother, child, husband, father who is falsely accused, convicted and sent to death row. Would you still be ok with the execution then? One day after the execution, new evidence arises to exonerate him. Then what? Oh, yeah, he’s dead. FYI, in Illinois they exonerated 13 from death row while executing 12 in 25 years. If those 13 had been executed, that would have meant that more innocent individuals were executed than the guilty!

Strangely, you said earlier that you would accept this as God’s will. Can’t you view life in prison as God’s will? Was it God’s will for someone to be murdered? Where does God’s will end?

margeryred's avatar

I would have absolutely no problem with my family member, co-worker or someone I know being given the penalty of execution for an unconscionable heinous crime.

I am comfortable with where I will go when I die. If I was innocent as I am sure there have been “some” in history that may have been…I would feel very wrongly accused and be deeply depressed and upset about it, but I look at it this way:

THE VICTIM ISN’T CHOSEN IN COURT BY A JURY TO DIE OR BE RAPED OR ABUSED. The victim is chosen solely by the predator that does the evil deed.

This is the way I can describe it… what if a police officer has to make a split decision looking down the gun of a bad guy? Does he have the right to kill? If you read the bible especially the old testament there was a lot of killing and praise for those defeats.

If we do not have the threat of a death penalty then where will there be a line drawn for all of the criminals who do not have their own conscious? The threat of dying on death row will at least slow down their rampages and maybe give them the hesitation they may not have learned in life to that point.

shilolo's avatar

Right. You didn’t answer my question. What happens if your loved one is falsely accused, and executed. You would accept that, or would you fight to have them released? What if your fight was shortened by the actual execution? Wouldn’t that be maddening?

I would add that I don’t think you read my prior posts. You should know that studies have shown that the death penalty does not deter crime, and in fact, crime is higher in death penalty states.

Finally, I hate to break it to you but the bible isn’t exactly the best text to follow. It is neither historically accurate (the world was not created 5700 years ago) nor particularly fair. In some countries that follow the word of the bible literally, women are executed for adultery, and sometimes even when they are the victims of rape. Thieves have their hands cut off, etc.

margeryred's avatar

Shilolo, I try to respect other’s opinions, but you are making it hard for me. I stand behind my opinion… I believe in the death penalty. I am up close and personal with the law and have had many friends, family, and unknowns violently hurt or murdered and YES I want the bottom feeding, scum bags of society that have gone their whole lives as a career criminal (<<<operative word here) to die!

If I have never committed a crime and just so happen to kill someone (my first offense) there are safety nets in place I would not be put to death. The reality is that those states that can kill someone on death row rarely does (Texas aside) and I beg to differ about their crime rates!!!

You are talking EXTREMES and maybe not so much reality. Yes, there are third world countries that do strange things that we don’t accept.

I am just proud to serve my country so that people like you (wearing funny hats and all) have the right to speak your mind.

shilolo's avatar

Since you are “up close and personal with the law”, you should know the statistics on crime rates. You can “beg to differ” all you want, but the numbers don’t lie. Also, your answer bespeaks your motive, which appears to be vengeance rather than justice.

If you want to talk extremes, you need to hold the US up to the mirror first. We have the world’s highest incarceration rate, by far. Higher even than Russia and China! Its basically become a cottage industry. So, when it comes to incarceration, we ARE the “third world country”.

Finally, let me add that you can be sure that I “serve my country” plenty. That funny hat is a PAPR, which I must wear daily as protection from killing myself at work. I research the pathogenesis of dangerous bacteria so that you won’t die from serious infections, AND, I treat patients at the Veterans Administration Hospital. So, I can proudly say that I “serve my country” as well as the greater good of global health.

margeryred's avatar

Okay, I agree to disagree and I am not malice or made of any kind of vengeance.

I guess you have determined that it is okay to berate people. I wasn’t debating the U.S’s incarceration rate, touche, if more of the violent waste of breath humans were put to death we wouldn’t have as high rate of incarceration, would we?

wildflower's avatar

@margeryred
So is it the violence that sets apart a regular killer from a state-sanctioned one? I still don’t think it’s right to take another person’s life, no matter who or how that person is. Only exception would be in a self-defense/kill-or-be-killed situation, where it was not your intention, but you ended up doing it.

As far as justice systems go, I don’t see what you’re teaching – or how you’re reforming – a criminal by killing them. To me, life in prison would be a FAR better lesson and an actual chance for them to learn, reform and hopefully make some contribution (even if only by making license plates!)

I personally don’t believe justice=revenge (2 wrongs do not make a right) and therefore will never consider death penalty appropriate in any way, shape or form.

shilolo's avatar

I see, I berated you. Ok. In my experience, when two people debate a subject, they try to use data or evidence to support their argument, not feelings or gestalt. If you took offense to my pointing out the available data on crime rates, I’m sorry. But, since you implied that somehow you were “serving our country” so that I can sit back and enjoy your labors, I took offense to that. As to your last comment, I have very little to say since your words clearly speak for themselves. If you want the US to become a country that treats its citizens worse than China, so be it.

shilolo's avatar

Oh, and one more thing. How do you reconcile saying that you are not malicious or full of vengeance, when you say things like ”Fry the bastards!”, ”I just wish we could do to them what they did to their victims” and ”I want the bottom feeding, scum bags of society that have gone their whole lives as a career criminal (<<<operative word here) to die!”? I’m interested to know.

margeryred's avatar

Please tell me… have any one of you had a close friend or family member murdered by a career (allegedly rehabilitated) criminal?

I have and I have my opinion. I’m sorry if you don’t like it. Quite frankly there is no risk of me becoming the President of the United States so I wouldn’t be sweating it like this if I were you…

Good for you… you want to let people who terrorize and bring down the quality of life in communities out to do more crime… I don’t happen to be squishy and soft and feel they can be rehabilitated after their a few murders and 6 rapes!!! (true story) They’re done in my book! (He got 252 years… what is that? We have to pay for him to be in a cage for the rest of his life. Being in a cage isn’t cruel??? Personally I would rather die than sit in a cell by myself 23 hours of the day)

margeryred's avatar

shilol I can’t even address you anymore.. you obviously have some sort of weird cone headed way of trying to provoke me. Go ahead but I’m done! :)

Fluther: You ask a question. We get it to the right people.
Everyone discusses the answer.

No one is right or wrong… you discuss it…like calm respectful adults.

wildflower's avatar

I’m glad to be living the EU as far as measures of punishment are concerned!

Allie's avatar

My grandma lived/worked in Saudi Arabia for 13 years. She told me stories (and showed me pictures of which I wish I’d never seen) about people who had their hand cut off for stealing or an eye removed for getting caught looking at another man’s wife.

margeryred's avatar

Do you think it put fear in people not to commit those crimes? Or did they just continue trying to poke their eyes out???? ;)

Allie's avatar

I don’t think it made people afraid of the crime or afraid to commit the crime, but I think it made them afraid of what would happen if they got caught. If the punishment itself made people afraid of even committing the crime, there would be no crime, but that isn’t the case.

wildflower's avatar

If you try to rule by fear and use that as a deterrent, you will always have those who will want to risk it. It’s just like being a teenager, fearing being grounded if caught, kinda makes it all the more exciting!
You’re much, much better off using severe inconvenience (being confined for x amount of time) and/or embarrassment (court case and criminal record) as a deterrent. At least in my opinion.

margeryred's avatar

Thanks Allie… they are already afraid of what will happen if they get caught… they don’t want to be put to death, but they really don’t want to be caught and put in jail either.

Allie's avatar

I think in Saudi Arabia if you commit a crime you’re pretty much screwed. Their prisons don’t sounds so nice. I bet some people would gladly give a hand instead.
I agree with what WF said about it being tempting to take the risk.
Life in prison sounds like a better punishment. They don’t learn anything from capital punishment.
A professor I had taught our class about recidivism rates for prisoners who were put through some sort of reformation deal. The recidivism rates for these prisoners declined as opposed to those who weren’t “re-trained” so to speak.

margeryred's avatar

Okay… I keep saying I am done… but I just have to keep adding actual FACTS that I know…

I was at a house with social services and they were checking on the well being of children. There were two adult males talking the whole time and they were actually talking about soft felonies they could commit to get to jail so they can get the benefits when they get out…

Our county gives them $500 voucher for clothing when they get out
$500 for furniture
Voucher for a deposit and first months rent…

Doesn’t this make you sick? Thugs, real people are telling each other how to cheat the system… how to go to jail and get the money after they are release…

Recidivism… they may never go back, but if they need more clothes maybe they’ll commit another soft felony to get that payout.

I guess I have too much real life experience with society’s bottom feeders.

wildflower's avatar

Would you rather kill them than let them have their 1000 dollars after doing time in confinement for their violation?

margeryred's avatar

COMMON SENSE NOTICE…soft felony is not an executable offense. Is everyone on FLUTHER that liberal that that story doesn’t totally piss you off?

Crimes are being commited by lazy people PURPOSELY so they can accept or qualify for some sort of free welfare.

This dosent make te tax payers here upset??

I have to ask again what I am doing here?

Do you want to hear the story about the women who lie & claim they got raped to get free birth control via an abortion??? This is for real folks, not the movies or some far off place…

sndfreQ's avatar

[Fluther Moderator]: While the discussion is both passionate and insightful (from both perspectives), please try to refrain from personal attacks. Thanks.

wildflower's avatar

The stories of soft felonies or fake rape charges to cheat your way to benefits (in a country where the health system ranks around #30 on WHO’s list) do not piss me off any more than the notion of anyone (judge, majority, whatever) deeming a person unfit for society and killing him/her for it.

buster's avatar

What is someone confesses to a crime that draws the death sentence? That pretty much proves they are guilty without a doubt. Shouldn’t they be executed?

Allie's avatar

Like J. Dahmer?

shilolo's avatar

Buster. You bring up a good argument, but not all confessions are reliable. Some confessions are coerced, while others are obtained from people under duress who don’t have the mental capacity to understand the gravity of the situation. There have been well documented cases where DNA evidence obtained at the crime scene has exonerated individuals who had confessed to the crime!

buster's avatar

Thats wild someone would confess to a crime and later found innocent because of evidence.

shilolo's avatar

Buster. There are “crazy” people in this world who the police can convince of just about anything. For example, a person could go out drinking and black out (we all know people like this). Next day (or some time later), the cops bring the guy in and say, you did this and that. Someone might think, “well, I might have done it, but I don’t remember. If the cops say so, it must be true.”
Other people have such low IQs that they are mentally impaired or even mentally retarded, yet are “convinced” by the police of their guilt.

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