General Question

fabulous's avatar

What are your views on the death penalty?

Asked by fabulous (574 points ) June 24th, 2008
Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

70 Answers

flameboi's avatar

Depend on the cruelty of the crimes commited, but I guess death penalty is a form of escaping for the criminal, nothing works better than life in prision with hard labour included, just to make you think about all the pain you caused…

jlm11f's avatar

you might want to check out this recent thread which has opinions from both sides, humor and drama all nicely mixed in.

fabulous's avatar

@Flameboi
Do you feel if someone has killed another person be it man, women or child do they deserve to be killed or do you believe in the saying two wrongs don’t make a right

lefteh's avatar

In my opinion, there are several situations that call for the death penalty (such as but not limited to serial child rape, graphic serial murders, mass homicide, et cetera).

However, until a new amendment to the Constitution is passed expressly authorizing capital punishment, IT IS ILLEGAL.

The Eighth Amendment reads:
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

There are few things in this world more cruel than depriving one of his life.

jrpowell's avatar

The death penalty isn’t worth it if you kill one innocent person. And we have, it should be abolished.

flameboi's avatar

@fabulous
Two wrongs don’t make a right, yes… I’m not a very religious person, but I think no person has the right to take the life of another, but, it should be punished. As human beigns, we can make a mistake and judge an innocent, then death penalty is way over the top.

waterskier2007's avatar

@lefteh, i think labeling it as cruel is wrong. you must take into consideration that if someone kills someone else is it “cruel” for them to die to. i think not. i think that if someone is that wrong to kill someone else (Iimiting out vehicular manslaugher like in an accident, or in self defense, etc.) then that person deserves to die too

jacksonRice's avatar

it’s a symbol of our cultural belief in punishment instead of rehabilitation. so is prison. in my opinion it’s ridiculous, destructive rather than constructive. why is a murderer’s life worth less than someone else’s?

PupnTaco's avatar

I’m on the fence. Generally, I’m against it for all the smart reasons, then I’ll hear about someone like Lawrence Singleton and be all for it.

waterskier2007's avatar

@jacksonrice, exactly for the reason you just said, they are a murderer

Les's avatar

The death penalty’s primary purpose is to be a deterrent to people who would commit crimes worthy of such a punishment. The idea is that someone who would commit such a crime (let’s say, murder) would stop before the act and say to him/herself “I should not do this because if I do, I will be put to death.” But this doesn’t happen. In truth, the death penalty is no more a deterrent than life imprisonment. The only reason it ever came to be was to be more of a deterrent than life imprisonment. Because it does not do what it is designed to, there is no reason to have it. Additionally, there are too many cases where there is doubt about the person’s guilt in the crime, and for these reasons, I am against it.

reed's avatar

I think a sentence of life at hard labor would be more of a deterrence than the death penalty. Unfortunately that has been deemed “cruel”. Making someone sit on their ass in prison for the rest of their life doesn’t seem like much of a deterrent to me.

waterskier2007's avatar

the problem is that our prison systems sometimes get crowded, which in turn makes them terribly unhealthy, so prisoners can die when they arent supposed to. and prisons take tax money to run as well

syz's avatar

If I could believe in our justice system, I would strongly support the death penalty. Clearly, the current system is flawed.

jacksonRice's avatar

@waterskier: do you really think that a murderer’s life is less valuable than someone else’s? what about soldiers?

waterskier2007's avatar

@jacksonrice, yes i do, if it was intentional. soldiers have no choice and are fighting (most of the time) to protect freedoms or rights of their country)

emt333's avatar

the death penalty is being in challenged in some states by doctors who refuse to administer lethal injections. this is a compelling argument against the death penalty that has nothing to do with its ethical pros and cons.

Babo's avatar

It’s a mixed message.

MrKnowItAll's avatar

Ted Bundy has been rehabilitated.

tinyfaery's avatar

@jacksonrice…Unless soldiers are drafted, they did make a choice to fight, die, and kill. What did they think they were signing up for, a tea party?

No one has the right to decide if another does not deserve to live.

vectorul's avatar

A murderers life is not worth a penny. If you kill some one in the first degree and are guilty of it then you deserve to die as well.
If you murder someone then you should be killed. final end of story.
I am not talking about accidental death. I am refering to MURDER!

loser's avatar

its wrong

jacksonRice's avatar

@tinyfairy i completely agree.

AstroChuck's avatar

This is covered ground. However, since you asked, I’m against it. Too lazy to explain why, but this has been covered already.

jmbm's avatar

It’s a dead issue.

waterskier2007's avatar

@vectorul….. YESSSSSSSSS

Mangus's avatar

The death penalty is more expensive to the state (and thus citizens) than life in prison. The appeals process and all the extra work that goes into making “extra sure” the individual is really guilty, actually costs more money than just locking them up.

But that’s not really the point. It’s always funny to me that people can make a statement like “if you murder someone then you should be killed. final end of story”. If murder is so essential in its wrongness then why is the state murdering people exempt from that moral absolutism? Capital punishment is murder. It’s not war. It’s not self-defense. It’s murder. When you make absolute statements about the wrongness of murder, you’re failing logically (and in moral coherence) when you say the death penalty is a reasonable response.

bluemukaki's avatar

@Vectorul and @waterskier2007: You seem to be neglecting the point johnpowell made which is that while you may believe (incorrectly in my opinion, I might add) that a murderers life is ‘not worth a penny’ how do you justify the fact that the system in place in some American states kills people who are not guilty of crimes?

You both seem to be forgetting the fact that at the end of the day the only purpose that killing a prisoner has is an emotional one, people who kill other people don’t ‘deserve’ to die, no one deserves anything because ‘deserve’ implies that there is some kind of tally board going on every person to see when they ought to be killed. Execution developed because it was an effective way of removing dissenting individuals (or groups) in society. Given the general stability of our society and the ability for us to treat murderers in a less barbaric way, do you not think that we should choose this option?

If you do believe that people ‘deserve’ to be killed for murdering another person, because of some divine tally board which commands it, let that person be judged before their god, not judged (in some cases unfairly) by you and the people who run your justice system.

The death penalty doesn’t leave any room for accidents, if someone isn’t who you think they are, or didn’t do what they were convicted of, what can people do? Are you going to be the person who tells that person’s family that an incompetent justice system murdered a man? Can you justify what happens to innocent people who are wrongfully accused and killed as something other than murder?

mzgator's avatar

I support the death penalty! I have personal reasons. My dads mom, my grandmother was a victim.

I know deep in my heart that if something happened to another member of my family, I would want the person responsible to pay with their life.

zom123's avatar

@mzgator Well what does ‘deep in your heart’ tell you about what you would want to happen if a member of your family murdered someone?

mzgator's avatar

@zom123: if my own daughter caused the same type of horror and tragic loss to someone else and their family, I would accept her punishment . The individual who did this to my family, also did it to 6 more families. He deserved the punishment he received.

lefteh's avatar

I sympathize with your loss, and I also agree that he deserved his punishment.
Nonetheless, the fact that I asserted earlier remains: due to the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States capital punishment is illegal.

zom123's avatar

Well, @mzgator i’m assuming you’ve never been in that position, and lets hope you aren’t. I wonder, however, if your opinion of the entire thing might change if you were in that position.

mzgator's avatar

Its one thing to tell someone how to raise their child, but totally different when you have your own. I respect everyone’s feelings. When something like this happens, it changes you. He was caught, and he admitted his guilt. He never was sorry, ever. If something happened like this to you, you might see things differently. You never know for sure what you will feel until it happens to you, which I hope never does.

mzgator's avatar

if my daughter did something like this, which I hope and honestly think will never happen, I would still love her, but she would have to pay. That’s the bottom line.

lefteh's avatar

I don’t disagree that he deserved it, mzgator. It’s just that until a new amendment to the Constitution is passed, it is illegal.

waterskier2007's avatar

@ lefteh, its not illegal, you are still referring to “cruel and unusual punishment” making it illegal, but thats where ur wrong, the cruel/unusualness (sorry for lack of a better word) is evaluated based on the wrongs done by the person, yes, if someone steals a candy bar, capital punishment would be cruel and unusual, but for murder it is not a cruel or unusual punishment

lefteh's avatar

Here is where we differ in constitutional theory.
In regards to this amendment, you are clearly an intentionalist and originalist whereas I take a textualist stance. You’re applying a case-by-case interpretation style, where you’re evaluating whether every individual punishment fits the crime. While this is okay in some situations, such as the Supreme Court case decided today regarding capital punishment for child rapists (now illegal, yay!), the amendment is not written as such.

It bans cruel and unusual punishment, period. The list of things more cruel than depriving one of his life is short.

waterskier2007's avatar

@lefteh, whoa are u saying that the SC just said that punishing child rapists to death is illegal? wtf

lefteh's avatar

Yes. Thank God.
The only thing more absurd and illegal than killing people for killing people is killing people for not killing people.

jlm11f's avatar

Personally, I feel all rapists should be killed but of course that’s just my opinion.

waterskier2007's avatar

@lefteh, i cant even believe you are saying that. do you realize how sick and insane child rapists are. they dont even deserve to be part of society and they should be killed for sure. i dont hesitate one bit when i say that

lefteh's avatar

“they dont even deserve to be part of society”
It’s too bad we don’t have large, concrete buildings with bars over all the windows and patrolmen with guns designed specifically to remove offenders from society, isn’t it?

waterskier2007's avatar

I correct myself. they dont deserve to live. is that clear enough?

lefteh's avatar

It’s a scary, scary thought to allow the government to decide who does and does not deserve to live.

waterskier2007's avatar

definitely not. its scary to let people decide because then we get overly compassionate tools who think no one deserves to die

lefteh's avatar

No one deserves to die at the hands of the State.
If not for his sake, for the sake of his peers.
Canada, Mexico, Australia, some of South America and Africa, and essentially all of Europe has figured that out. One can only hope our time will be soon.

waterskier2007's avatar

if you believe that, move to any of the places you just listed

lefteh's avatar

I should move away because I think there is a great injustice being committed in this country?
This nation has a history of rising up and righting its wrongs. I have no reason to believe this one will play out any differently.

tinyfaery's avatar

@lefteh Though I have a suspicion you’re either a law student or a practicing attorney :) , I agree with you 100%. I also want to commend you for your ability to remain rational and objective when debates become personal attacks. Speaking as someone who experienced childhood abuse, and someone who works, everyday, with survivors and abusers, at all stages of recovery, persecution of the perpetrators is not serving justice. Better we concentrate on healing the victims than vilifying those who were often victims themselves.

If we tell someone who is abused, and then goes on to abuse others, that their abuse cannot be considered a factor in determining their culpability, we invalidate all victims.
And if we are going to persecute victims, then what’s the point of caring about abuse in the first place?

bluemukaki's avatar

The death penalty is a selfish, petty act. If it is done in a harmless way, the only people affected by someone being put to death are the relatives of the victims. They want that person to die because they are childish, no one should be allowed to enact the pain they felt onto another family. Isn’t America a predominantly Christian country? Where do these values come from if most of the developed world is a. less devout than America and b. not enforcing the death penalty?

jacksonRice's avatar

@waterski—“definitely not. its scary to let people decide because then we get overly compassionate tools who think no one deserves to die”

if you think murderers & child rapists deserve to die, then what makes you any different from any other common murderer who thinks HE knows who should live & who should die?

NVOldGuy's avatar

The stare should never use it for any reason. I want my tax dollars to go for TV, Medical care, housing, heating, air, food and all that it takes to keep to most vicious criminals in a place where they can get college degrees and of course organ transplants.

waterskier2007's avatar

@NVOldGuy, im kind of confused by your post

lefteh's avatar

I saw that earlier, and I got so angry with him.
I love my Barack, I’m on his campaign staff in Ohio. This is the first thing he’s done that’s truly made me question his judgment.

tinyfaery's avatar

lefteh… we can’t have it all.

lefteh's avatar

Unfortunately, your words ring very true.

NVOldGuy's avatar

waterskier – Confused? I want to use tax dollars for bad guys not people who can’t afford med insurance or education. In my childish and petty way I think these people should have a life style some can only dream of. Rape a kid and get free medical and food for the rest of your life. Keep them alive so they can live off tax payers. They live off the taxes paid by the victims relatives et al.

waterskier2007's avatar

haha ok, gotcha

NVOldGuy's avatar

If some one were to rape one of my grandkids I would be more than happy to end his/her life. I think it’s a shame the state can’t do it for me.

breedmitch's avatar

@NVOld Guy: Good to know that two wrongs still make a right. ~

Mangus's avatar

I think the whole “doesn’t deserve to live” angle is childish. It’s a child’s reaction to pain to insist that another feel pain as well. This isn’t self defense, it’s attempting to deal with pain (personal and social) by inflicting it on another, and rationalizing it as “just” or “deserved”.

It is emotionally immature because it doesn’t solve anything; the act of retribution doesn’t make pain go away. I think the feeling of triumph and “justice served” is just evidence of an even-more-damaged heart and soul.

NVOldGuy's avatar

Let’s hear it for those all people who are above the fray and the human condition. Yes, we are childish, inmature, stupid and believe in some sort of justice. Let’s hear it for all of the people who know what’s wrong with the rest of us and can in a minute explain our motives. Keep up your good work and let us, immature damaged souls lament our plight of being human. I would ask only that all the babble take place after violence to a loved one.

jacksonRice's avatar

@NV, do you really think that retribution is more important than rehabilitation?

Mangus's avatar

@NVOldGuy: 1) It is not childish or immature to believe in justice. But as I tell my children often, justice is everyone getting what they need, not everyone getting the same thing. Eye-for-an-eye doesn’t get people what they need. Though it feels that way from the pain, I believe. 2) You have no idea what violence my loved ones have suffered from, so don’t make those assumptions.

@NVOldGuy and jacksonRice: I don’t think the question has to be about retribution vs. rehabilitation. The support for capital punishment on this thread seems to be based in the pain and needs of the people who survive the violence (the discussion hasn’t focused on the possibility or not for rehabilitation). I’d argue that survivors’ healing is contributed to by acts of love, not violence. How can a wounded soul be healed by supporting ultimate violence to another?

jacksonRice's avatar

@Mangus, i agree with you, especially your last line, & would even venture to include the offender as a “wounded soul” needing to be healed—- hence my comment about rehabilitation.

Mangus's avatar

Right on, jacksonRice! Excellent points.

NVOldGuy's avatar

I give up. You people are right and of course I am way off base because my beliefs don’t go with yours. Did I make assumptions? This is just another case of,” Agree with me or you’re a nut and can’t know what you’re talking about. I am right and if you don’t agree, you are just crazy and stupid etc.” I will leave the discussion to you who have all the answers and can judge those who don’t agree.

Mangus's avatar

@NVOldGuy: I never maintained that you had to agree with me, otherwise I’d write you off as a crazy or stupid. If fact, you were the one who called others’ comments “babble”.

Maybe we’re assuming different purposes for being here . I’m maintaining a position in an argument, elaborating my views. It’s called civil intellectual discourse. Just because I don’t stop when someone uses sarcasm and faux self-deprecating mockery doesn’t mean I’m judging or unwilling to talk to folks who disagree.

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