General Question

hoosier_banana's avatar

Is the Death Penalty hypocrytical?

Asked by hoosier_banana (829points) September 12th, 2008

Killing other people is wrong, if you do it we will kill you.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

81 Answers

Randy's avatar

The saying goes “Eye for an eye”.

joeysefika's avatar

Depends on how you look at it. If you look at a murderer as someone with no rights and the normal rules don’t apply then no its not hypocritical it is simply justice being served. This is how people justify it. But if you see a murderer as someone who has just made a mistake and that no one deserves to die then it is hypocritical.
As randy said “An eye for and eye” although that is slightly old testament but this still does not stop it being hypocritical I suppose.
Thats a tough question!

augustlan's avatar

I find it incompatible with my personal moral compass. However, I do understand both sides of this issue. I’d like to see all those sentenced to death, or even life in prison put on a very small island, with very tight security and let them fend for themselves.

MrMontpetit's avatar

Doesn’t seem hypocritical to me. More of a “give them a taste of their own medicine” type of situation.

richardhenry's avatar

In my opinion, the chances of making a mistake and putting an innocent person to death outweigh the benefit.

JackAdams's avatar

I feel that a person’s views on the DP might be affected by if they had ever had a relative or friend who was murdered by someone.

I lost some friends to the WTC collapse on 9–1-1, and when Osama bin Laden is brought to justice, I’ll have no problem with him being executed.

In fact, I’d purchase a US$10,000 “ticket” to see that.

allengreen's avatar

I’m for anything that leads to less traffic on the freeway. I’m pro-choice, pro birth control, death penalty, anything that “thin’s out the herd” and get’s rid of the assholes, leaving the scarce resources of planet earth for those who deserve them. Especially if the subject is Republican, than go ahead and flip the switch….

sands's avatar

It’s definitely vengeful and along the lines of “playing God” if one is being honest about it. We can’t give life so why take it? Even if the person/criminal is vile and disgusting.

allengreen's avatar

If they are a pedophile?

JackAdams's avatar

Or a crooked politican?

Marcus Junius Brutus felt that politicians should be excuted, and killed one.

“The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.”
Henry VI, Part 2 – Act IV Scene II

hoosier_banana's avatar

Personally I beleive in nurture over nature, and I can’t help but wonder if state sanctioned killing is sending the wrong message. Could there be a monkey see, monkey do effect here? kids who witness violence are more likely to act it out. Bobo Dolls

We are saying as a society that some offenses are so egregious that killing the offender becomes a valid solution. Murderers often kill their victims because of an intolerable offense(crimes of passion, honor killing, revenge, provocation) as well.

I say the less violence in our society the better.

augustlan's avatar

I don’t have the statistics to back this up, but aren’t we (the US) just about the only advanced western nation that still uses the death penalty?

JackAdams's avatar

The Russians don’t have a death penalty now, but when they did…

The condemned prisoner was taken to a prison to await his execution, and while there, he was always fed the very best food, imaginable. This was the kind of food that you would find in any 5-Star Restaurant in New York City.

The best steaks, the richest desserts, superb coffee.

One day, the prisoner is brought another first-class meal, and eagerly wolfs it down, then (perhaps) tops it off with a hand-rolled, Cuban cigar, and maybe, a small glass of Vodka.

Minutes later, the prisoner feels drowsy from all that wonderful food, and lays down on his bed, to rest.

He falls asleep, and never wakes up.

Poisoned food will do that, you know…

wildflower's avatar

Revenge is an emotional reaction. Emotion has no place in a fair and just justice system. The objective should be to assign a fair and just consequence in a rational manner, while keeping within the law and not use the same measure as you are prosecuting someone for having used (murder).

JackAdams's avatar

So, are you saying that Timothy McVeigh, who viciously murdered 168 of his fellow USA citizens with a bomb planted next to a federal building (which no longer exists), should now be in prison for life, without the possibility of parole, getting 3 meals a day, watching free television, receiving free medical and dental care, getting free college courses (possibly some degrees), and not contributing anything whatsoever to the betterment of society?

You call that “justice” for those 168 dead people and their families/friends?

wildflower's avatar

He was a threat to society, so society should ensure he was unable to realise any more of those threats, without committing a crime themselves.

As far as I’m concerned, killing someone for killing is just repaying at the same, criminal level – which any individual with human emotions, affected by the initial killing, will be tempted (to various degrees) to do, but the difference between those who pose a real threat to society and the rest is that you do not act on it. Instead, you apply an established set of rules without emotion. It’s what’s called law and order.

JackAdams's avatar

While I do respect your opinion (and of course, your right to it), I am reminded of the following American adage:

“Dead killers do not kill again.”

This is based on the fact that some killers can/do kill again, even while locked up for the rest of their lives, in prison.

Robert Stroud is an excellent example. He killed a prison guard, while in prison.

Had he been executed, that prison guard would not have been murdered by him.

But, if he had been executed, Burt Lancaster would not have had the opportunity to portray him in, The Birdman of Alcatraz.

wildflower's avatar

But, how is it justified for the state to decide to end someone’s life, when it’s clearly not justified for the individual to the decide the same?

I’ve made this argument before, but here goes: The state is a representation of the people in it, so if they’re allowed to decide who is to die, but an individual member of society is not, where do you draw the line? How many people need to agree before it’s OK to kill?
Regardless what your answer to that is, it is bigotry and double-standard to say it’s not OK for one person to take a life, but it’s OK for a representation of society to take a life. That is not telling you that killing is wrong, all it tells you is that making decisions on your own is wrong.

JackAdams's avatar

The state doesn’t “decide” that a murderer shall die.

The murderer decides that s/he shall die, when s/he commits the act of murder.

The murderer is, in a very real sense, committing suicide when s/he commits a murder in a state that has a death penalty prescribed for that crime.

wildflower's avatar

Any state that has a law stating that the authorities can execute a person, but no individual can, has a messed up sense of what a legal and judicial system should be.

It is not OK to intentionally kill another person (self-defense and combat is a different matter), no matter what they’ve done.

JackAdams's avatar

Wildflower wrote, quote, “It is not OK to intentionally kill another person (self-defense and combat is a different matter), no matter what they’ve done.”

You’ve made my point for me, with your above statement.

The state is exercising self-defense of the residents of the state, by executing someone, to prevent them from killing another inhabitant of their state.

wildflower's avatar

The state is not at the mercy of an incarcerated man!! That’s the whole point of having a system that leads by example, employes measures that are not in violation of the law, to achieve the same results. Killing a killer is still killing!!

And if your view is that killing the killer is justice served…......does that mean you believe justice has been instantly served in the case of a suicide bomber? It would follow the same logic..

JackAdams's avatar

Suicide Bombers aren’t likely to repeat their actions, are they?

Neither are those who are executed by a state government in the USA.

wildflower's avatar

And what lesson has been learned in those cases? That if you kill someone, you die – It does not teach you or advocate that killing is wrong, yet that is the underlying justification for these measures – it doesn’t make sense.

JackAdams's avatar

Not to you, respectfully.

But to those of us who feel as I do, it makes perfect sense.

If it is “OK” (as you have already declared, above) for an individual to kill in self-defense, then it is “OK” for a state or nation to also kill in self-defense of their inhabitants.

The USA dropped Two Atomic Bombs on The Empire of Japan in a self-defensive act, to let the leaders of that nation know, in no uncertain terms, that The USA was defending itself against any/all future attacks from that country.

Many Allied lives were saved by those two bombs, and any other country would have “gotten the message,” after only one bomb.

wildflower's avatar

The atomic bombs on Japan were not self-defense, they were acts of war. The individuals killed by the bombs did not pose an immediate threat to the US soldiers dropping the bombs.

I can comprehend how one person can think it’s fair to repay a crime with a crime, or a killing with a killing. I can not comprehend how a system created to uphold and enforce agreed rules and encourage people to adhere to them, can decide to punish (I’m also not in favor of punishment being the foremost motivator for justice, but that’s another discussion) breaking of those rules by committing the very act that is deemed to be in breech of those very rules.

It’s the equivalent of the Fluther moderators violating the guidelines to correct/punish a user for violating the guidelines….......does that lead to respect for the guidelines and encourage users to adhere to them? No, it does not. It encourages a sense of “if they can, so can I”.

allengreen's avatar

Timothy McVeigh was framed, not smart enough to pull that off—just a goat.

JackAdams's avatar

Fortunately, a jury of his peers believed otherwise.

allengreen's avatar

In America, because a jury of one’s peers says so, have very little to do with innocents and guilt—jurors are no more educated than are voters….I rest my case

JackAdams's avatar

Thank you!

It’s nice to know that we’ll be viewing no more posts from you, on this subject.

scamp's avatar

I’ve already shared my views in this thread. Count me as one who is for the death penalty and one who feels it it not hypocritical.

marinelife's avatar

I would not call it hypoctirical, but I do not believe that society should kill anyone.

I also absolutely agree with richardhenry when he says it is not worth the price of even one innocent person. We know our jails hold a number of innocents (confirmed through DNA testing—therefore, it is almost a certainty we have executed innocent people.

Our justice system is too flawed.

Bri_L's avatar

The question is “Is the death penalty hypocritical?” I say it is. We say killing is wrong. Someone kills someone. So we kill them. That is hypocritical.

That does not mean that it can’t be argued it is not ok to do. Most of us agree it is wrong to kill, yet there are times when we agree it is necessary. We would not have stopped Hitler without doing so, eh? But, that was, if we do indeed agree it is wrong to kill someone, hypocritical, isn’t it?

hoosier_banana's avatar

Killing to protect innocent life from an immediate threat and self defense are honorable . I think we can all agree there. It would be nice if it didn’t have to happen so much though…

Bri_L's avatar

No question. I agree. I am just saying, from my viewpoint, as the question is stated, Yup it is hypocritical.

shrubbery's avatar

Where I stand right now is yes, I believe it is hypocritical. Though I have never experienced a loss by murder, so this could always change. But I agree with Bri_L, “The question is “Is the death penalty hypocritical?” I say it is. We say killing is wrong. Someone kills someone. So we kill them. That is hypocritical.”

JackAdams's avatar

The story is told (and I can’t cite proof of this, but it came to me from a friend who is not known as a bullshitter) that the state of Maine once had a death penalty, but got rid of it, after it was later revealed that the last person to suffer it, had been innocent of his alleged crime.

Years later, the death penalty was reinstated in Maine, and again, a later-proven innocent person was executed. So, if that story is indeed factual (and i don’t know for certain that it is), then the last two people put to death in Maine, were innocent. That’s a horrible legacy for any state to have, if true.

Today, Maine doesn’t have a death penalty, and folks there have told me that the likelihood that they will ever have it again, is as likely as Rush Limbaugh becoming a decent and honorable human being.

tWrex's avatar

I don’t believe it’s hypocritical. I can see how it can be viewed as such though. I agree with @JackAdams that it is as if they are committing their own suicide. They knew the consequences when they performed the act.

Now the real question is, if you support abortion but are against the death penalty are you being hypocritical? And if you support the death penalty, but think abortion is wrong are you being hypocritical?

wildflower's avatar

I’m sorry, but this “it’s like they’re committing suicide” doesn’t wash! Based on that view, it should be acceptable to kill others as long as you also kill yourself????

Bri_L's avatar

I still don’t understand how it isn’t. The question as stated seems clear.

Killing is wrong. You killed. That is wrong. We are going to kill you. That is hypocritical.

BUT people try to justify it by certain moral explanation.

richardhenry's avatar

With due respect, the people who actually suffered the loss may well not be the best people to dictate the justice. That isn’t justice, that’s revenge.

I still think that the chances of putting an innocent man to death outweigh the benefit of killing them if they are guilty.

Additionally, I do not think that being in prison is a holiday. Being very serious, I would rather die than be locked in a cell with “yard privileges” for the rest of my life. Sure, you get a television if you behave yourself, but how does that (or other privileges) compare to having access to the outside world, and the things we have available to us? Plus the food is garbage.

JackAdams's avatar

@RH: You wrote, quote, ”... the people who actually suffered the loss may well not be the best people to dictate the justice. That isn’t justice, that’s revenge.”

The ones who “suffered the loss” ARE the ones “dictating the justice.”

The state believes that they “suffered the loss” of one of their citizens, and just maybe, that citizen was a productive citizen.

So, it may just be state-enacted revenge.

But either way, whatever you call it, a killer will not kill again…

richardhenry's avatar

@JA: If every person dictated their own revenge, the angry old man would have the kids who trespassed his garden locked up for years.

The man who’s new car was just broken into may well decide to have the criminal put infront of a firing squad.

I’m simply saying that what feels best to the victim is not always the most logical route. Killing the murderer may be the wrong path, because in more cases than we would like to think, they turn out innocent.

The term “state-enacted revenge” implies blind justice, which the law shouldn’t be. It should be fair, balanced and logical. It needn’t be satisfying, so long as it serves the purpose of making us safe.

Perhaps I would speak differently had I been terribly wronged by someone, but from the calm position I’m in now, it makes sense to not put the driving wheel in my hands.

Making me safe is more important than making me satisfied.

JackAdams's avatar

@RH: You wrote, quote, “The term “state-enacted revenge” implies blind justice, which the law shouldn’t be. It should be fair, balanced and logical.”

In the USA, justice cannot be “fair, balanced and logical,” unless it IS blind.

Prison inmate Jeffrey Dahmer suffered what I like to call poetic justice in the USA, in that he was sentenced to prison, but was not sentenced to death.

But fortunately for all concerned, he was murdered in prison by another inmate, and some are claiming that Gawd somehow “arranged” for him to die when he did, to give some sort of solace to the relatives of his victims.

I’m very comfortable with believing that.

richardhenry's avatar

@JA: So, are you saying the current justice system in the US is fair?

When men like Dahmer can evade the full whip crack of state-enacted revenge, and yet over 130 people have been released from death row since 1973? People being declared innocent at the eleventh hour? How many more will have slipped through, and into the tank, chair or onto the table?

By your own argument, the current system doesn’t work.

JackAdams's avatar

I didn’t say the system is perfect. No system is, where human beings are involved.

It is a system that I hope will one day improve. In the meantime, I’m “with” the 70% of those Americans who want the death penalty as an “option.”

But, just between you and I, I would prefer it if people didn’t kill each other.

richardhenry's avatar

I think that’s a reasonable conclusion. Thanks for the discussion.

JackAdams's avatar

My pleasure, really. You are a skilled debater.

richardhenry's avatar

Our language differences are a whole another debate. ;)

JackAdams's avatar

Sometimes, folks administer their own “death penalty,” and in this case, I really don’t blame her. I’ll quote the words of some others, as I relate this story:

I’m sure many of you may recall (not by her name, however) the case of Ellie Nesler, a case that was made into a TV movie, Judgment Day: The Ellie Nesler Story, in 1999.

On April 2, 1993, Ellie Nesler shot (5 times) and killed a shackled Daniel Mark Driver in a Tuolumne County courtroom in Jamestown, California, during Driver’s preliminary hearing on charges of molesting Nesler’s son, Willy Nesler, and three other boys at a church camp 5 years earlier. Willy was just 6 years old at the time of the molestation. Driver was a trusted family friend who also happened to have (presumably unknown to Ellie Nesler) gotten probation in 1983 for molesting an 8-year-old boy.

Ellie Nesler was prosecuted for murder. She was convicted of voluntary manslaughter—not murder—and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Following protracted legal maneuvering, she was released after serving less than 4 years. (See? There IS a Gawd, after all!) Here is just one of many articles about her:

September 30, 1993
Mother Is Found Sane in Killing Accused Molester
©1993 by The New York Times Company

A woman who fatally shot her son’s accused molester was sane at the time of the killing and legally responsible for opening fire on him in a courtroom, a jury found today.
The woman, Ellie Nesler, a 41-year-old single mother from Sonora, Calif., faces up to 16 years in prison when she is sentenced on Nov. 29 for the killing of Daniel Mark Driver.
After a long summer of testimony, a jury in Sonora, 120 miles east of here, found Ms. Nesler guilty of voluntary manslaughter, the most lenient conviction possible. In the second phase of the trial, the same jury set out this month to determine whether Ms. Nesler could distinguish between right and wrong when she shot the 35-year-old accused child molester.
“We do concede she had some mental disorders and she should seek psychotherapy to help her deal with the problems and return to society,” jurors said in a prepared statement, The Associated Press reported.
Mr. Driver died instantly when Ms. Nesler shot him five times at close range as he sat handcuffed to a table in a courtroom last April. He was there for a preliminary hearing on charges of molesting Ms. Nesler’s 12-year-old son and three other boys at a church camp several years earlier.
The case drew national attention and brought thousands and letters and $40,000 in money for her defense from supporters around the country. Contrasting Portraits
As with the first part of the trial, Ms. Nesler did not testify as lawyers, psychiatrists and psychologists drew contrasting portraits of her mental state when she shot Mr. Driver.
One portrait was sympathetic, depicting her as a distraught mother who was operating on an animal instinct to protect her young and who believed she had been chosen by God to kill Mr. Driver. The other portrait was of a vigilante bent on revenge, a woman who knowingly assumed the moral authority to kill and who took calculated steps to insure that it would happen.
The burden of proof on the insanity portion of the trial was on the defense. In a two-hour closing argument last Wednesday the defense lawyer, J. Tony Serra, told the jury that Ms. Nesler had a harrowing childhood of violence and sexual abuse and had been pushed by rage to a moment of insanity when she learned of her son’s alleged molestation. “Think of she-bear, think of tiger, think of wolf,” he said.
Mr. Driver allegedly molested the boy when he was 6 at a church camp where Mr. Driver worked as a dishwasher despite a 1983 conviction for child molesting, for which he served two and half years of probation.
After the accusations regarding Ms. Nesler’s son, Mr. Driver eluded the authorities for three years. But he was arrested last January for shoplifting in Palo Alto and brought to a courtroom for a preliminary hearing on seven charges of child molestation, four of them brought by Ms. Nesler’s son.
On the day Mr. Driver was shot, Ms. Nesler began divining signs that she was chosen to kill him, Mr. Serra said. The man had “sneered” at her and her son, showing no remorse, he added.
In contrast, prosecution witnesses testified that in confessions and interviews after the killing, Ms. Nesler had a clear understanding of her actions.
“People are not she-bears,” Scott Thorpe, a state prosecutor, said in closing arguments. “People think, they reason, they make judgments. Even motherhood does not exempt one from accountability.”
As evidence of her presence of mind, Mr. Thorpe, said Ms. Nesler hid the .25-caliber pistol, examined Mr. Driver’s face for remorse and, seeing none, shot him five times at close range.
“She chose herself to take the law into her own hands,” Mr. Thorpe said. “She was not chosen.”

The above article should be viewable online, at:

Ellie Nesler became something of a folk hero in Tuolumne County, and a hero to crime victims’ advocates. On the other hand, those concerned about vigilante justice found this case very troubling.

Ellie Nesler’s life has not gone well since her release. In 2002, she was convicted on drug charges and once again, went back to prison for 3 more years (if my memory is correct). And while in prison, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. I don’t know what her status is today, but it is my understanding that she is still alive.

Willy Nesler has also had an unhappy life. Since turning 18 in 1999, he had been arrested 18 times on charges of varying seriousness. Here is a Modesto Bee story about him, from July 28, 2004:

Nesler case now possible homicide


SONORA—William Nesler is now wanted on suspicion of murder, authorities said on Tuesday, adding that the man with 17 arrests on his Tuolumne County record “could be anywhere.”

Nesler is the son of Ellie Nesler. In April 1993 in a Jamestown courtroom, she shot and killed a man accused of molesting four boys, including William. William was 11 at the time of the shooting and 6 when the molestations occurred, according to the charges.

Investigators believe William Nesler severely beat David Davis, 45, of Sonora, who died at Doctors Medical Center in Modesto on Monday. Davis died from trauma to the brain caused by skull fracture, Sgt. Roger Dittberner said.

The beating took place about 5 a.m. Sunday, less than an hour after Nesler, 23, was released from the Tuolumne County Jail, Dittberner said. Nesler had been released from a 60-day sentence for a June 24 incident in which he had beaten Davis in a dispute over tools.

On Sunday morning, Dittberner said, deputies got an anonymous call that there had been a fight and someone was badly hurt on property belonging to the Nesler family on Shaws Flat Road, about two miles northwest of Sonora.

Responding deputies found Davis on the ground, bleeding, outside the trailer he rented from Nesler.

Davis was unconscious at the time and never regained consciousness, Dittberner said. He added that investigators believe Nesler to be responsible—and there were witnesses. Authorities have declined to elaborate on how many witnesses.

Nesler was at large Tuesday evening. Authorities in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties—where Nesler has family and friends—are following leads, Dittberner said.

Since he became an adult in 1999, Nesler has been arrested in Tuolumne County 17 times, beginning with a concealed firearms charge in November 1999. Since then, he has been cited for driving violations and arrested for failure to appear in court. He also has a juvenile record in Calaveras County that is not available to the public.

Nesler last appeared in court in June. According to court documents, deputies responded to his property on Shaws Flat Road for a dispute involving tools.

Even though deputies were there, Nesler charged Davis, punched him and threw him to the ground. As two deputies pulled Nesler away, he screamed an obscenity at Davis and stomped his foot on the ground, just shy of Davis’ head, court records said.

UPDATE: He is now (as of September 16, 2008) serving a 25-years-to-life sentence, in a California prison, and all of this was started, by him being a child abuse victim at age 6.

I remember what a police matron told Ms. Nesler, after she was arrested and taken into custody, immediately following the shooting: “If anyone asks me, I’ll deny saying this, but I want you to know that you are my hero.”

I second that emotion.

Online Newspaper References (in ascending chronological order):







tWrex's avatar

All child molesters should have their genitals cut off, be staked to a wall in public and be violated with a splintered piece of balsa wood until they perish.

JackAdams's avatar

And after all that is done, we should feed the remains to wild Dingos in Australia!

hoosier_banana's avatar

Ellie Nesler is now in prison for manufacturing methamphetamine.

Being molested as a child does not mean that child will grow into a killer, although both Nellie and William needed therapy that I am assuming they could not afford.

Differential Association theory states that criminal behavior is learned behavior and learned via social interaction with others.” “3. The principal part of the learning of criminal behavior occurs within intimate personal groups.” eg. mother/son.

Do you think that killing the child molester made things better? Please explain how.

I would have preferred a break in the cycle of violence.

JackAdams's avatar

“Do you think that killing the child molester made things better?”


When the child molester died, the probability of him molesting other children in the future, was reduced to zero.

I have never read an account, from any source, where it was scientifically proven, in any court of law, that a DEAD child molester successfully molested another child.

If you have proof that that has in fact occurred, I invite you to present it, right here, so that all of us reading your words, can examine the evidence you will share with us.

While you are at it, please provide irrefutable evidence that a dead murderer can also kill again.

I’d like to examine evidence of that, also.

(NOTE: If such evidence is not presented here, then we have to conclude that I am right.)

tWrex's avatar

@JackAdams While I believe your answer is unequivocally correct, I believe that @hoosier_banana (almost didn’t know where to stop with the na’s) is making the assumption that the reason the son was violent was due to the child molester being killed rather than that he was molested.

As a victim myself – at the same age that this guy was – I can tell you firsthand that I never received justice and had someone killed that mother fucker I can promise you I would have been a much different person. To this day – 20 years later – I can tell you that if I saw the man I would kill him myself. He has never been to jail. He has never had to register on the sex offenders list. He has never had to pay for his crimes. Why? There wasn’t enough evidence. Really? 3 other fuckin’ people weren’t enough – 2 of which were much older than me and understood what was going on. Yeah killing the child molester made things better for him. He got justice. While many of his angry and aggravated behaviors may stem from other issues at home – possibly the fact that his mother was in jail and his dad was pissed at him for it? just speculation – I can most definitely assure you that it did not stem from that sick fuck getting 5 shots in ass (like 50 cent… did I really just make that reference?).

Bri_L's avatar

tWrex – I know its not the point, and I don’t want to take a way from it, but sorry you went through all that. Very very sorry.

tWrex's avatar

@Bri_L I appreciate that. From my posts lately you’d think my life was sunshine and puppies! LoL. I’m alive and that’s all I can ask for right now.

JackAdams's avatar

I’ve posted a distantly-related Q, if anyone is interested in reading and commenting on it:

hoosier_banana's avatar

@ Jack; do you take yourself seriously? Prove dead people can do things, who said you make the rules? Don’t beg the question.

Ellie Nesler cared more about her pride than her child, he was no longer in danger, she taught him the wrong lesson.

Willie beat a disabled man to death over power tools, and has no remorse, do you think he was justified in any way? Where did he learn that killing defenseless people is OK?

JackAdams's avatar

William “Willie” Nesler was not the least bit “justified” in assaulting and murdering a disabled person, and I won’t attempt to defend him, because murder is indefensible, unless it is being used to defend yourself, or another person in danger.

I’m saying that I believe that his past sexual molestation may have contributed to making him the kind of person who could do the things that placed him where he now is, and I’m glad his sexual abuser was exterminated, although I am very sorry that Ellie Nesler was the one who did it.

But, I still applaud her actions, done with love for her son.

hoosier_banana's avatar

Turns out she’s been released from prison again, maybe you should look her up and have a meth party since she’s your hero. Moral Character

tWrex's avatar

I heard meth is great for weightloss!

richardhenry's avatar

@JA: Moot point.

The statement that an offender cannot re-offend if they are dead is quite obviously correct, nobody is disputing that.

The arguments against execution have never included ‘the offender can re-offend anyway’.

There are many other valid arguments, though.

JackAdams's avatar

Thought I would share the fact that child killer Richard Henyard was executed by lethal injection in Florida Tuesday night (9–23-08) after a two-hour delay caused by last-ditch efforts to save his life.

Henyard, 34, was pronounced dead at 8:16 PM EDT at the Florida State Prison in Starke, the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel reported. His execution had originally been scheduled for 6 PM EDT.

The Lake County man was convicted of killing two sisters from Eustis, Fla., Jamilya Lewis, 7, and Jasmine Lewis, 3, and of raping and shooting their mother, Dorothy Lewis, in front of the girls, in 1993.

Dorothy Lewis, who recovered, didn’t attend the execution, though her husband and other family members were granted the right to be there, the Sentinel reported. She repeatedly has said she opposes the death penalty.

That part “bothers” me for some reason, and I don’t think I can explain why. Dorothy Lewis’ own children were brutally murdered by this guy, and she was shot and raped by him, yet she did not want him to be executed.

I just feel like she is saying, with that attitude that, “It’s ‘OK’ that you murdered my baby girls. No big deal.”

I realize that that is a wrong attitude for ME to have, but if my two little girls had been brutally murdered, I’m sure I would have “snapped,” and tracked down (and killed) ever member of his entire family (because I would not have been able to “get” to him, as long as he was in a prison.

(The above information was combined from various press accounts.)

Excuse my venting, please.

watchman220's avatar

I personally believe that each state or government having made this decision, should be supported in the quick delivery of such a punishment.

I am a Christian…this means that as scripture states. Those who are not breaking the law have no fear of the law. Those laws exist for the protection of the people.

I would like to see the convicted have a chance to repent for their actions. And if they repent, then they should be at peace with their punishment. This is an admission of wrong-doing followed by consequences.
Repenting of this behavior does not always allow for the consequences to be retracted.
But when life or death is involved, those who are soon to lose their life have a choice to turn to God and repent, if they do not…it is the afterlife I would be afraid of more than the life on this world.
If they do repent, than they have an understanding of what they have done, and they can look forward with a humble, and repentant heart to a better afterlife, even though they jacked this one up.

Repentance is a personal decision of the heart. It should be offered as a mercy to those who will lose their lives.
The death penalty is a severe punishment that is delivered to those who did not respect death in this lifetime.
I think some people need to learn that lesson the hard way.
Some will never learn that lesson.

The state has the right, appointed by God, by the will of the people, to legislate punishments for it’s society.
You can agree or disagree with society’s laws. But if you choose to live in this life, you must obey them.

hoosier_banana's avatar

What question are you answering? I didn’t ask if Christians like killing people.

augustlan's avatar

What about “Thou shalt not kill?”

hoosier_banana's avatar

I wouldn’t assume that of all Christians. Sorry, my parents sound a lot like the prophet up there, I’m a little sensitive to the frequency.

TaoSan's avatar


respectfully, are you in any way related to the late Charles Lynch?

I’m sure you would have found some common ground in this discussion.

TaoSan's avatar


Sounds about like the same reasoning an Iranian Mullah would preach…..

toleostoy's avatar

how can you teach people that murder is wrong when you show them by way of execution? it’s like purity by way of fornication. shout out to Derek Webb.

toleostoy's avatar

@Randy an eye for an eye only leaves the whole world blind.

bea2345's avatar

I am not happy with the death penalty because human justice is very imperfect. In my country, in the US, in Great Britain, everywhere. It is true that once the offender is dead, he cannot re-offend; but supposing he is found to be innocent? Mind you, many of the people on death rows are not model citizens, but it is surprising how many of them are convicted for quite the wrong reasons: discrimination, faulty police work, incompetent judges and lawyers, etc. The deterrent effect of capital punishment will come from the sure knowledge that it is swift, efficient and accurate.

Macaulay's avatar

The Death Penalty is hypocritical for any supporters who are also Pro-Life.

ratboy's avatar

@Macaulay: the life in Pro-Life ceases at birth.

proXXi's avatar

According to the golden rule, the murderer has treated another as he wishes to be treated.

Who are we to deny him?

bea2345's avatar

My chief objection to the death penalty is that it does not prevent capital crimes. If it does not do that, it is a waste of public money. And it makes me, a taxpayer and citizen, complicit in the unjust deaths of persons who were found not guilty after the fact, or who should have had more competent lawyers and so forth. Of course, the hanged murderer will not kill again; but what about his brother? What will deter him? Add to that a legal system where the innocence or guilt of the accused is irrelevant; what matters is the competence of the lawyers – a la O.J. Simpson, remember him?

belakyre's avatar

I view the death penalty as a final resort, rather than something given to those who commit something the very first time. I believe in mercy, so long as the wrong-doer tries to change. Nothing can be solved by killing each other, and I believe that what we need are more people who care for those who keep making mistakes, not people who want to kill them.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

The death penalty is a big hypocritical joke. If the rules to how it is used and applied were used are never even or consistent. The death penalty rather than being imposed and carried out the same for everyone is used as a carrot vs. stick tool for lazy cops who can’t or don’t want to try and make the case. They threaten to use it if they can’t get a confession or a higher up guy they want more. It is hardly metered out evenly. Owney “The Killer” Madden a gang member killed off his rival who was trying to take control of the gang, Vincent “Mad Dog” Coll, shot him to death. Did he get the death penalty for that? No, he got only 12 months in prison. What about Joe Horn? He was told by police dispatchers not to go outside but not only did he do it he shot and killed to unarmed burglers who was running away. Did he get the death penalty? Nope, not even charged I suspect they secretly gave him a key to the city. And my favorite Sammy “The Bull” Gravano who was allowed to plead guilty to one single count of murder and promised witness protection after doing wino time because he was willing to drop a dime on John Gotti. Gravano is suspected of being involved directly or indirectly with the murders of 19 people. There are people on death row for a single person and he has 19 and yet no life in prison, no death penalty, just a slap on the wrist and witness protection. Yeah the death penalty is a very sick American joke.

Nullo's avatar

I look at it from a compensatory-justice viewpoint. All crimes have a penalty, such that the guilty party gives up something deemed to be similar to the value of what was taken or damaged in the crime.

A murderer has taken life. What, then, can he give that is of similar value?

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