General Question

Snoopy's avatar

How do you feel about the death penalty?

Asked by Snoopy (5798points) November 21st, 2008

Do you feel that it is acceptable in only certain specific types of cases (e.g. murder of children as below)?
Do you feel it is never acceptable?

Please see this story about an execution in KY 11/21/08.

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31 Answers

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tiggersmom's avatar

It really is a tough topic, seems like Texas gives it a bad name, they put more people to death there than anywhere else. I do agree with it in the cases of rape in the multiples, children, and murder, but other than that, I really don’t see any reason for it.
It is acceptable in those cases, but one thing I can’t agree with is killing someone who is mentally ill, like someone with autism, or stuff like that. Hope this helps.

gimmedat's avatar

I think it’s morally reprehensible to believe that a group of people are able to recommend whether another human should be able to live or die based on the word of others.

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gimmedat's avatar

Thanks, yo.

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PupnTaco's avatar

It’s a tough one. Ethically or whatever, I’m opposed – partly due to my knowledge that the system is broken and innocent people are executed.

But then there are people like Lawrence Singleton who I’d have no issue offing with my own two hands.

skfinkel's avatar

Don’t like the death penalty. Rather, let them be put in jail for life. And get rid of all the other people in jail who haven’t really committed serious crimes.

AstroChuck's avatar

I view it as state sponsered murder. It’s feeds this medieval mindset that feels it “needs” vengence.

augustlan's avatar

I am pretty much opposed to the death penalty in all cases, for a number of reasons. 1) Killing is wrong, unless in self-defense. 2) Killing the criminal does not bring back the victim. 3) It is not a deterrent. 4) It is too easy. Those who commit heinous crimes ought to have a heinous punishment. Life in prison, at hard labor, with no chance of parole would be a start.

I say ‘pretty much’ because I have struggled with this issue for some time. Do I think some people don’t deserve to live? Yes. Do I think it’s my job to decide who those people are? No.

Allie's avatar

I’m not against the death penalty.

shilolo's avatar

This question has been asked multiple times. Recently, it generated a contentious debate. My position, in a nutshell, is that I am opposed to capital punishment. It is neither effective as a deterrent nor are there guarantees that innocent people won’t be executed.

dynamicduo's avatar

I’d rather certain felons were killed than to support their continued existence. Mostly the ones who do really disgusting crimes, or the ones who continually exist in the prison system. I agree strongly with ‘eye for an eye’ justice. I also view it as a resource management issue.

shilolo's avatar

@dynamicduo. It requires fewer resources to keep someone in jail for life than the death penalty, with all its appeals and expense of putting people on death row. Some will argue that that problem would be solved by rapid executions, but then you run into the issue of increasing your chances of executing innocent people. In Illinois alone, 13 people were exonerated before the governor stopped all executions. In many cases, there was a 10 year delay between conviction and exoneration. Imagine if those prisoners had been executed after 1 year?

augustlan's avatar

I also kind of like the idea of dropping all the worst criminals on an island from which there was no possibility of escape. No guards, cooks, or healthcare. A sustainable farm already in place, and a fresh water source but nothing else. They can fend for themselves (or die) without intervention or money from us.

PupnTaco's avatar

As long as there were ravenous ferrets there, I’m all for it.

jholler's avatar

that’s what Australia was. I always wonder why it’s such an issue that the condemned not suffer while they’re dying…maybe if they knew it was gonna suck, it would be more of a deterrent.

shilolo's avatar

@jholler. Are you familiar with the 8th amendment of the US Constitution?

dynamicduo's avatar

There are many valid arguments to be made either way. I have no doubt my own opinion will change as my life experience does. I have a close friend who had half of his family killed by a notorious repeat drunk driver. It is as devastating to me now as it was on that day. That criminal was given a slap on the wrist (sadly, somewhat common in Canada) and released back into the world. Where he did it again a few years later. If justice had been given out appropriately, which in my opinion would be the death sentence (eye for an eye, well as close to it as one can get), this criminal would not have been given the chance to kill again, and one innocent person would be alive today. I support the full right to a fair and proper trial, but if a convict continues to do crime after crime (serious crimes, not dinky drug possessions), to me that says they no longer wish to participate in today’s society with rules and consequences. How do you deal with someone who refuses to play the society game? Exile simply makes it someone else’s problem, which I don’t support. That leaves life in prison, or death. Since I don’t support life in prison (inefficient use of tax dollars), that leaves death. Leave prison space and resources for convicts who do want to become rehabilitated and become a productive member of society, stop wasting time on those who don’t. Today’s science greatly reduces the possibilities of wrongful convictions, but there will always be some regardless of how advanced we become. I believe that if we could structure a punishment system that starts penalizing repeat offenders on an exponential scale, NOT a three-strikes method, but one where a person has essentially a prison score and that score contributes to deciding what level of punishment is given, our prison system will become more efficient at dealing with problematic people. All I know is the way we’re dealing with criminals now is not the most ideal method in my mind.

susanc's avatar

Dynamic, did you read what shilolo wrote about which costs more, life in prison or execution? Back up. It will be something that will “change your opinion as your life experience does”.

jrpowell's avatar

I don’t think the state should be in the business of killing people. It isn’t worth it if even one innocent person is put down.

I don’t object to it being a opt in program. If someone gets life in prison give them the option to request a bottle of pills and let them end it them self.

Snoopy's avatar

@shilolo I presume that you posted the link to the question asked before to bring in other opinion and voices….if so, thanks.

If it was to suggest that this question shouldn’t be asked as it has been asked before…I would point out that new jellies since 5/08 mean new opinions. Additionally, my question was a bit different in that I am asking people to consider not just “for or against” the death penalty.

I want people to consider if it is never OK….or perhaps OK in certain situations. As in the example in the question. A man slaughtered two innocent children (in addition to raping the mom and leaving the mom and another child for dead).

Shilolo is correct….it does cost more to execute a person than to put him/her in prison for life. It is not cheaper at this time to execute someone due to the lengthy appeals process.

In years past, I have been strongly pro death penalty. However, time and again it has been shown that there are indeed innocent people in prison and by extension, on death row. I find this shameful and horrifying. Not only are innocent people in prison, but the guilty are free.

When considering punishment I try to walk a mile in the victim’s shoes. I try to imagine what if my babies were stabbed to death, I was raped and left for dead and another child was stabbed and left for dead. Facts in case

What if I knew the guilty person was in jail for the crime (b/c I knew the person, for example)?

Would I want the person to sit in jail for life? Or would I want the person dead?

Tough call.

dynamicduo's avatar

Yes I did read what he read. Unless the thread is mile deep I always read posts before mine. It doesn’t change my opinion. I hope you meant the phrase “back up” to indicate the location of shilolo’s post.

I would be interested in seeing the data of a breakdown of the costs of American prison incarceration, the cost of the appeal process, the number of jobs the system needs to support it, information on the average criminal in jail, etc. I don’t have any data to back up this opinion, but I have a hunch that the large number of people in jail reduces funds and time (appeals, etc) for each prisoner; if the prison population were reduced to serious criminals instead of a lot of the minor drug criminals, there would be more resources for these prisoners to appeal and thus the system would run more efficiently.

Regardless, I’m just glad Canada doesn’t have the same incarceration rate.

jholler's avatar

Yes, I’m familiar with the 8th amendment. I don’t consider hanging to be cruel or unusual….and it’s a lot cheaper than feeding them.

critter1982's avatar

I agree with Augustlan

jlm11f's avatar

does anyone have a source for a study showing death penalty does not count as a deterrent? i have heard many times that there are studies that prove this so I am curious to read about them. (in no way am i saying these studies do or don’t exist…just curious, so no one jump @ me :P)

wenbert's avatar

some people deserve to die

shilolo's avatar

PnL. I listed some of the sources in my answer here.

shadling21's avatar

I’m against it.
Have any of you seen the Penn and Teller ep about the death penalty?

lataylor's avatar

Against it.

Strauss's avatar

Against it.

If the state kills people who murder people it lowers the state to the level of murderers.

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