I hope they die, painfully and slowly

Under normal circumstances I am against the death penalty. But when I read things like these (mother and boyfriend slowly killing a 4 year old), I wish the Greek legal system allowed for the most severe of the punishments. This is a case where life in prison without parole is just not enough.

Speaking for myself, I feel sorry even for the wild vegetation in my patio that I have to remove. I am not capable of violence, except maybe if a higher goal is to be served (e.g. in defense while saving others). But for these two monsters, I can’t feel any remorse. I hope they die in prison, soon enough but slowly.

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KCorax wrote on July 8th, 2006 at 3:27 AM PST:

Honestly this is one of the cases where they have limited capacity. They were both junkies with little contact to their environment. I think their neighboors or the social services -if the neighboors have reported the regular abuse of the child- have more guilt than the couple does.

In other news there is the story of Alex where we have a possible premeditated murder of an underage child by other children with possible implication or murderous finishing-off by their parents.
The worst part is the mother who doesn’t have her son’s body. She can’t have closure for a situation that is borderline fact.

Now that raises capital punishment issues…


Thom Holwerda wrote on July 8th, 2006 at 4:40 AM PST:

Death penalty is desirable in some cases, but ethically impossible to justify under ANY circumstances. Humans are all created equal, and hence one human being cannot decide over another human being’s life. As simple as that.

Is a judge more of a human than me? Are members of a jury more human than me? Are they higher than me, better than me? No?

Then they cannot decide over my life. Under no circumstances. Death penalty is, I’m sorry to put it so bluntly, for barbarians.


Joseph wrote on July 8th, 2006 at 7:14 AM PST:

>Is a judge more of a human than me? Are members of a jury more human than me? Are they higher than me, better than me? No?

If you raped and murdered an elderly woman, for example, I’d think so :-) .

The only people I really wish were helped into the next life are violent sociopaths. No hope for them whatsoever.

IMO, the only thing barbaric about the death penatly are the ways used to obtain the end result. There are suicide methods that are less painful, more humane, and more dignified.


This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on July 8th, 2006 at 7:17 AM PST:

I agree with Joseph. The death penalty might not be ideal, but sometimes, boy oh boy, I would like to see it applied. And yes, judges should be able to take that decision — if truly required. That’s why they have become judges.


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Eugenia wrote on July 8th, 2006 at 8:21 AM PST:

BTW, we can’t entirely ignore the fact that we are currently paying taxes to keep people alive that are parasites to the society. It costs $25,000 per year to keep a person in prison. 40 years in prison means $1 million to tax payers. While there are philosophical and ethical reasons to not want the death penalty, there are definitely financial reasons to want it. And even if that sounds brutal, numbers don’t lie.


Joseph wrote on July 9th, 2006 at 1:44 AM PST:

>Hmmm… I either take that as a religious reference – if so I pity you, or I’d like to live in your Eutopia.. honestly I would.

I wouldn’t, it’s being ruined by extremist immigrants.

Whoops.


Thom Holwerda wrote on July 9th, 2006 at 2:00 AM PST:

And even if that sounds brutal, numbers don’t lie.

You know, the last time people were reduced to numbers, we ended up with Europe in chaos, and 6 million dead Jews.

May sound harsh, but that is where we’re at the moment you come up with such nonsense reasons to kill people. Because do not forget what the death penalty is– state-sponsored murder.


This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on July 9th, 2006 at 2:39 AM PST:

I have actually thought of that. I believe that sending the criminals without parole to an island where they can support themselves if they hunt or fish, is not a bad idea. Britain made the mistake with Australians to also mix women and have a british force there. This is why Australia failed as a place of punishment. Plus, it is not easy to sustain yourself in Australia, food is scarce.


This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on July 9th, 2006 at 5:44 AM PST:

Thom, give me a break. Nobody says about murdering all inmates. But for some of them, very few of them, I would feel better if they don’t really exist anymore. Call it murder if you want, I don’t care. I call it cleaning up the shit.


KCorax wrote on July 9th, 2006 at 12:32 PM PST:

> And yes, judges should be able to take that decision —

I’m aligned with Thom on this. No person should be able to take such an irrevocable decision, and there is no way to be certain on most any accusation.

Just think of the number of deaths recored in the US when approaching presidential and state-office elections. Can you swear there is not one mistrial in there ?

I remember thoroughly studying the specific case of a colour person who was sentenced to injection over rape, even though his semen did not match DNA.

Just how fair can a trial process be ?


memson wrote on July 9th, 2006 at 12:39 PM PST:

> BTW, we can’t entirely ignore the fact that we are
> currently paying taxes to keep people alive that are
> parasites to the society

Eugenia, what alternative is there? Until we have chriogenics (ala, Demolition man), we can only do what needs to be done.

Alternatives? Well we could send them all to a baron land with no real support from the powers that be.. oh wait, we (British) tried that, and all we ended up with was Australians.. DOH!


memson wrote on July 9th, 2006 at 12:43 PM PST:

> Humans are all created equal, and hence one human being
> cannot decide over another human being’s life. As simple
> as that.

Hmmm… I either take that as a religious reference – if so I pity you, or I’d like to live in your Eutopia.. honestly I would.


bkakes wrote on July 10th, 2006 at 11:59 AM PST:

In my not-so-humble opinion, “barbarians” are people who would choose to keep people like those Eugenia mentioned alive rather than using those resources to help the innocent and needy. (Yes, in the U.S. it’s generally accepted that right now it’s actually more expensive to put someone to death than to keep them in prison for life, but that’s an implementation detail, not a theoretical limitation). Argue that current government wastes all you want, but the bottom line is that there are finite resources in the world; giving to one necessarily means denying another. If you choose to pay to keep a 4-year-old-killing mother imprisoned, you’re choosing to not instead give those resources to someone who hasn’t tortured a child.

You know, the last time people were reduced to numbers, we ended up with Europe in chaos, and 6 million dead Jews.

This is one of the more laughable things I’ve read in months — thanks for the smiles! You’re equating the killing of innocent people with the killing of the guilty. By the same reasoning, I suppose prisons are horrible, too, since “the last time people were allowed to be put behind bars, we ended up with thousands of Japanese in internment camps in the U.S.” Of course, what really makes this a gem is that you invoke the Holocaust during your “it’s always wrong to kill humans” argument, when the reason it was “only” 6 million Jews (not counting the other millions of people) was precisely because other nations were willing to go to war with Germany, which entails, yes, killing. As in, “one human being…[deciding]…over another human being’s life”. Would you likewise argue that no one should have opposed Germany?

Because do not forget what the death penalty is– state-sponsored murder.

Actually, according to my trusty dictionary, murder is “the unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another”. I understand that you use the term purely for shock value, which might be effective in the right context. However, I want to make it clear that by definition there can be no “state-sponsored murder”.

From KCorax:
I’m aligned with Thom on this. No person should be able to take such an irrevocable decision, and there is no way to be certain on most any accusation.

To be clear, any punishment is irrevocable. If you imprison someone for ten years and then find him/her to be innocent, you can never give that ten years back. (Sure, you might be able to give them the next 30 or 40, but that’s beside the point for the moment.) That’s an important distinction to note when your argument is “because we can’t be sure, we can never do anything we can’t undo.” Nothing is undoable. You can temper the punishment — say, instead of being put to death they were “only” locked away for ten years of their life sentence — but you can’t undo it.


memson wrote on July 10th, 2006 at 12:10 PM PST:

> You know, the last time people were reduced to numbers,
> we ended up with Europe in chaos, and 6 million dead Jews.

Seriously Thom, don’t even go there. Your comparison is completely insulting and offensive.


Thom Holwerda wrote on July 11th, 2006 at 7:42 AM PST:

Would you likewise argue that no one should have opposed Germany?

If the German soldiers could have been taken captive instead of killed, yes, I would have preferred that.

Klling human beings is simply unacceptable, for the reasons cited in y above post. All humans are equal, hence, one human caannot kill another human being. End of story.

Actually, according to my trusty dictionary, murder is “the unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another”. I understand that you use the term purely for shock value, which might be effective in the right context. However, I want to make it clear that by definition there can be no “state-sponsored murder”.

I’m Dutch. To me, killing human beings is unlawful wether a state does it, or a person. Since I only answer to the Dutch Constitution, the death penalty is murder.

You’re equating the killing of innocent people with the killing of the guilty.

In all your eloquence, you refused to read my post correctly. I was NOT equating death lentalty with the holocaust. I was equating the degredation of people to numbers to th eholocaust. You see, the holocaust was not planned. It was not as if, in 1933, Hitler wanted to kill all Jews. It was a gradual process, that started with ‘ordinary’(as in, non-killing) imprisonment camps were people (Jews, homosexuals, Gypsies) were… Exactly, reduced to mere numbers.

You can spin this all you want, but it won’t change the fact that a) the death penalty is murder, and b) giving fincancial reasons to support the killing of people is barbaric, uneducated, primitive, and just plain stupid. And we have seen what it can lead to.

By the way, did it work? Since the death penalty got re-instated in the US, have crime rates dropped? They did not, now, did they? Funny, how western countries without death penalties have lower crime rates.

So, besides it being barbaric, uneducated, primitive, and just plain stupid, it is also ineffective.


bkakes wrote on July 11th, 2006 at 9:58 AM PST:

If the German soldiers could have been taken captive instead of killed, yes, I would have preferred that…Klling human beings is simply unacceptable, for the reasons cited in y above post. All humans are equal, hence, one human caannot kill another human being. End of story.

Ok, so please answer this (quite real) dilemma directly: Germans are killing innocent Jews by the millions. They are protecting themselves with a machine gun bunker. There is no way to approach the bunker from within x yards, or you will be shot and killed. It is possible, however, to take out the gunner with a sniper shot (which is highly likely to either miss him or kill him, but not simply injure him). However, as you mentioned above, killing the machine gunner would be unnacceptable, unequivocally. What do you propose?

You can spin this all you want, but it won’t change the fact that a) the death penalty is murder, and b) giving fincancial reasons to support the killing of people is barbaric, uneducated, primitive, and just plain stupid.

You state this as fact but you have yet to supply any justification for why it’s better to keep a brutal killer alive and incarcerated than it is to feed, say, an innocent starving child. Personally, I find that sort of resource allocation scheme to be the barbaric notion. (And no, the answer is not simply “do both”, since the finiteness of resources implies that there will always be such tradeoffs.)

And we have seen what it can lead to.

You have given zero evidence that the death penalty can lead to the Holocaust. You’ve merely offered up the exceedingly vague notion that the death penalty leads to treating people as numbers, which then can lead to killing them by the millions.

By the way, did it work? Since the death penalty got re-instated in the US, have crime rates dropped? They did not, now, did they?

You’ll notice that I have never advocated here that the death penalty will reduce crime rates. Quite frankly, I find that to be at best a flawed argument. I highly doubt that a criminal would think, “it’s worth doing this crime if the penalty is only life in prison, but not if they’ll put me to death.” Clearly, criminals aren’t thinking about the consequences, or at best are thinking that they will not be caught, in which case the punishment is fairly irrelevant (beyond a small fraction of “general fear of harsh punishment” in the popular mindset). You’re setting up a straw man argument here rather than respond to the points being made.

Funny, how western countries without death penalties have lower crime rates.

This statistic is at best highly questionable; many of the statistics I’ve seen regarding crime state that the U.S. has much higher homicide rates, but a lower rate of lesser violent crimes, such as assault, etc. Although, of course, this point is irrelevant anyway, as even if it were true, it would imply correlation rather than cause. There are many variables at play here, and especially given how extremely rare it is (even in the U.S.) for a criminal to be put to death, you cannot simply claim a generic cause. Considering how often you’ve described supporting the death penalty to be “uneducated”, this is a surprisingly elementary logical fallacy to commit.


Thom Holwerda wrote on July 11th, 2006 at 10:26 AM PST:

You’ve merely offered up the exceedingly vague notion that the death penalty leads to treating people as numbers, which then can lead to killing them by the millions.

No. Read more carefully. Eugenia was giving financial reasons to want the death penalty (see comment #5), and I replied to that, stating that you should not reduce people to numbers. Reducing people to numbers, taking away their humanity, is indeed one of the causes of the holocaust. Where the peopel in those camps not reduced to numbers, had they still had names, faces, etc., to the peopel commiting the crimes… They would not have done it. As simple as that. The reducing of Jews/etc to mere numbers, statistics, enabled the Nazis to make people kill them. It was a crucial part of the holocaust.

This statistic is at best highly questionable; many of the statistics I’ve seen regarding crime state that the U.S. has much higher homicide rates, but a lower rate of lesser violent crimes, such as assault, etc.

And what kinds of crimes are punished by death, in some states of the US? The violent ones, or the lesser violent ones?

Although, of course, this point is irrelevant anyway, as even if it were true, it would imply correlation rather than cause. There are many variables at play hereI

Obviously. Still, it appears the existence of the death penalty in the US has not scared criminals away from commiting murders. And isn’t that what a punishment is supposed to do?

You state this as fact but you have yet to supply any justification for why it’s better to keep a brutal killer alive and incarcerated than it is to feed, say, an innocent starving child.

You have a lot of starving people in the US, I’ll give you that.

But anyway, this is nonsense. Can you provide me with ANY proof that keeping prisoners alive instead of murdering them led to the deat of ANY child because its parents hadn’t the money to buy food?

If these arguments are all you can come up with to sooth your conscience over supporting murder, you are a sick, sick person.


bkakes wrote on July 11th, 2006 at 11:26 AM PST:

(First off, I would like to explicitly point out how you conveniently neglected to respond to the dilemma I posed, challenging your claim that killing a human is unilaterally wrong.)

Reducing people to numbers, taking away their humanity, is indeed one of the causes of the holocaust…Where the peopel in those camps not reduced to numbers, had they still had names, faces, etc., to the peopel commiting the crimes… They would not have done it. As simple as that.

It would be interesting to see you elaborate on specifically how a financial justification of the death penalty for violent criminals (i.e., choosing to allocate resources to the innocent rather than those guilty of heinous acts) leads to devaluing and killing the innocent. If anything, it seems that the position I’m taking has a higher valuation for the innocent.

And what kinds of crimes are punished by death, in some states of the US? The violent ones, or the lesser violent ones?

Obviously, it’s the more violent crimes. A tiny fraction of them are punished by death, yes. You still are trying to imply cause from a correlation, and arguing against a point that I’m not even making (that the death penalty is an effective deterrent to crime).

Still, it appears the existence of the death penalty in the US has not scared criminals away from commiting murders.

Agreed. Hence, as I specifically mentioned in my previous point, I find the “the death penalty is a good deterrent” argument to be quite faulty.

And isn’t that what a punishment is supposed to do?

That may be part of it, but absolutely not all of it. If that were true, why jail? Why not torture or hard manual labor, or whatever else you can dream of? Jail is a common criminal punishment because (in theory) it gives a chance to teach people why their actions were wrong, and let them grow, make amends, and prove that they have been rehabilitated. Moreover, it removes them as a threat to the general public. In the case of life sentences, this removal is probably the most important factor.

You have a lot of starving people in the US, I’ll give you that.

An irrelevant snide comment, seasoned with a lack of comparative analysis of the U.S. vs. other nations. Tasty!

But anyway, this is nonsense. Can you provide me with ANY proof that keeping prisoners alive instead of murdering them led to the deat of ANY child because its parents hadn’t the money to buy food?

This is nonsense? It sounds like your claim is to deny that scarcity of resources is a problem, hoping to sidestep the “how to allocate our finite resources?” decision altogether. (Much as you conveniently sidestepped the decision of whether or not it would be acceptable to kill the German soldier in the scenario I posed; your only response on the subject has ever been to capture him without killing him, even though that’s not possible in the scenario I mentioned. In other words, your “solution” is to hope that the problem and thus the decision doesn’t actually exist.) As I’ve mentioned, the finiteness of resources means that such decisions will always exist, just as in my example, the decision over the German soldier’s life must be made.

To address your “any child” point, perhaps the most obvious example of resource deficiency (among many options) is Africa. I’m assuming you’re well aware of the tremendous problems with starvation and disease, and what could be solved with more resources for food, health care, and education. I made the claim that life imprisonment is theoretically more expensive than the death penalty (although, as specifically addressed in my first post, this is apparently not the case with the current U.S. implementation). Again, given the finiteness of resources, any extra resources spent keeping a violent criminal alive can necessarily not be used for, say, an innocent child in Africa needing help.

If these arguments are all you can come up with to sooth your conscience over supporting murder, you are a sick, sick person.

Ah, the ad hominem attack! The ultimate admission of “his position is better reasoned than mine is, and I know it, but I don’t want to admit it”. ;)


bkakes wrote on July 11th, 2006 at 11:28 AM PST:

Ok, ok, I typed “unilaterally” when I meant to type “universally”. So sue me. ;)


Optimus wrote on July 12th, 2006 at 5:31 AM PST:

Eugenia: Don’t let hate overtake your sanity. I’ve been reading your similar post blogs and such news really saddens me too (especially the recent case of Alex), though I try to avoid getting in a hate mood or even try to not get much emotionally affected after reading such news. I don’t know if it’s ignorance or trying to relax and forget the bad things of this world (that always happened) from my side. But that’s my own way to see things. Hate breeds hate. Oh, I will stop now with these wanabee pseudowisdoms, I just see how much you reflect your hate on such of your posts, how much it might affect your thoughts and I wanted to mention, anwyays take care :)


Thom Holwerda wrote on July 12th, 2006 at 6:22 AM PST:

(First off, I would like to explicitly point out how you conveniently neglected to respond to the dilemma I posed, challenging your claim that killing a human is unilaterally wrong.)

Heh, my bad, I had a whole reply ready to this matter but wanted to save it for last; I then forgot. That’s me right there :) .

Anyway, I will again state: if killing of humans can be avoided, it should be, at all costs. Your specific case could be solved by using non-lethal weapons; they exist, so they should be used. There is no reason in hell why i.e. the allied (US+UK) forces needed to kill Iraqi soldiers; stun weapons could have saved us a lot of dead people. As usual, will power is what is lacking.

Obviously, it’s the more violent crimes. A tiny fraction of them are punished by death, yes. You still are trying to imply cause from a correlation, and arguing against a point that I’m not even making (that the death penalty is an effective deterrent to crime).

If it is not used as a deterrent… Than it is not a punishment, but merely a way to get rid of criminals. We might as well drop the name ‘capitol punishment’ and ‘death penalty’, as they then do not cover the intended use of the murder. We better call it, eradication. Extermination. Murder. State-sponsered killing. You pick one.

That may be part of it, but absolutely not all of it. If that were true, why jail? Why not torture or hard manual labor, or whatever else you can dream of? Jail is a common criminal punishment because (in theory) it gives a chance to teach people why their actions were wrong, and let them grow, make amends, and prove that they have been rehabilitated. Moreover, it removes them as a threat to the general public. In the case of life sentences, this removal is probably the most important factor.

Life sentence is the heaviest form of punishment in my country, and can be achieved in two ways: either in the literal sence, as in, people get sentenced to a classic jail and rot there until they die. The 2nd method is what we call, ‘TBS’. This is a ‘punishment’ usually placed after a prison sentence, and it entails a forced treatment in a special psychiatric clinic. It is used for pedophiles, or other heavy offenders. My country lacks serial killers, but if we did have them, they’d probably get TBS too. Normally, TBS is given in the period sense; i.e. “15 years in prison followed by 7 years of TBS”. However, those 7 years could become 15 years, or for life, if the patient does not show signs of recovery. With TBS, everything is put into work to try to give these people, who are usualy very mentally ill and therefor have no notion of wrongdoing, as normal a life as possible, after having done the jailtime they deserve.

This, to me, is unlimitedly (is that a word?) more humane than just killing people.

An irrelevant snide comment, seasoned with a lack of comparative analysis of the U.S. vs. other nations. Tasty!

Irrelevant? The fact there are more poor people in the US than in my country (percentage-wise, of course) is anything but irrelevant in a discussion where you claim that the state murdering people saves children.

To address your “any child” point, perhaps the most obvious example of resource deficiency (among many options) is Africa. I’m assuming you’re well aware of the tremendous problems with starvation and disease, and what could be solved with more resources for food, health care, and education.

So. Let me get this straight. The money saved when killing a man instead of giving him a life sentence, goes directly to the war on AIDS and hunger? Get real, you know just as well as I do that any money the US might save when killing a man goes to anything but charity. Theoratically, you may have a point. Practicially, you’re being slightly delusional.

Ah, the ad hominem attack! The ultimate admission of “his position is better reasoned than mine is, and I know it, but I don’t want to admit it”. ;)

I’m feeling physically disgusted at the idea of people defending the killing of prisoners just because else they may cost to much; there is nothing ‘ad hominem’ about it, it are just my direct feelings. Why don’t you guys stop spending so much money (that you do not have, I might add) on (illegal) wars, and instead spend THAT money on saving the poor in your country? Do you really think the little amount of money saved by eradicating murderers does NOT pale into insignficancw when compared to the huge amounts of money spent on the US military? You are comparing a dime to a billion!

Now, let ME give you a little dillema. Say, we have a brilliant scientist working on a cure for cancer. He is really close, only a few more months, maybe a few years, but his work is extremely promising. However, he discovers his wife is sleeping with someone else. In a crime passionèl, he kills them both.

We also have a black man from South Central, LA (I’m not sure if CA has the death penalty, but I always associate LA with crime; for unwarranted reasons, I know, as crime rates have been dropping there, actually. For argument’s sake :) ). In a desperate act to get some money to feed his family, he tries to rob a licquor store; it goes a bit wrong, and he kills one shopclerck and someone else in the shop.

Now, in my country, they would both get x years in prison. The scientist would get to finish his cure for cancer, working from within prison. During prison time, he will get therapy and the likes in order for him to better cope with what has happened. He cures millions with his work, including some of the friends and relatives of the ones he killed. The black man would serve prison time as well. He woull still get to see his children raised, and his children would not be raised without their fathers (because remember, the death penalty also hugely affects people who have no connection to the crime at all, how fair is that?). He’d also get counseling, and intensive guidance after he is out of prison. The chances of recidivism are low, if not neglicable, because he is under constant surveillance.

What would happen in your world? Would you kill them both, setting cancer research back 10 years, and punshing people who had no relation to the crime at all, maybe traumatising them forever, maybe even turnign THEM into potential heavy offenders? Would you kill only the black man, but save the scientist because he is invaluable to society?

There you go. Would you want to be responsible for the consequences of killing them? Would you, Eugenia?


This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on July 12th, 2006 at 7:11 AM PST:

>In a desperate act to get some money to feed his family, he >tries to rob a licquor store; it goes a bit wrong, and he >kills one shopclerck and someone else in the shop.

Such a case would possibly NOT get the death penalty. I would never agree to kill someone for something that just went wrong. But when you have a MONSTER who cuts people in halves, then fucks them and then eats them, then yes, I would pull the fucking trigger myself.

>Would you, Eugenia?

Go eat a tomato Thom cause your tone starts to piss me off. If you can’t read carefully what I write and you suggest that I support the death penalty for ALL murders, then you are out of whack. Give me a break.


Thom Holwerda wrote on July 12th, 2006 at 8:24 AM PST:

Huh, my reply went lost…?


This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on July 12th, 2006 at 9:04 AM PST:

>And still they do.

Yes, they do. This is why I said that “under normal circumstances I am against the death penalty”. Did you somehow miss that? My point is that there are some FEW cases, where I DO support the idea. There are people out there that they don’t deserve to live. And yes, I CAN say that. While we have born equally, we haven’t lived equally up to what the society expects. If they don’t like to live with society’s rules, they can be my guest, they can move to a cave in the woods and fuck/eat/cut-through all the animals they want.


bkakes wrote on July 12th, 2006 at 10:05 AM PST:

Your specific case could be solved by using non-lethal weapons; they exist, so they should be used.

Please tell me how. I am referring, of course, to how you would non-lethally disable a machine gun bunker using technology available in the early 1940s. And assume, as is realistic, that you don’t have access to every supply known to man; you’re a foot soldier. Assume that every day you delay also costs more innocents their lives. I think that you’re simply hoping to sidestep the decision. Unfortunately, that’s not always an option.

If it is not used as a deterrent… Than it is not a punishment, but merely a way to get rid of criminals. We might as well drop the name ‘capitol punishment’ and ‘death penalty’, as they then do not cover the intended use of the murder.

Since the definition of “punishment” is “the infliction or imposition of a penalty as retribution for an offense”, obviously, it is a punishment. I think it is also clear that it is some level of deterrent. My point, said twice already now, is that I do not believe it to be a more effective deterrent than life-in-prison sentences.

My country lacks serial killers

As a completely irrelevant aside on my part, Google disagrees with you.

Irrelevant? The fact there are more poor people in the US than in my country (percentage-wise, of course) is anything but irrelevant in a discussion where you claim that the state murdering people saves children.

Why are you even mentioning the U.S.? In your desire to talk about how much better your country is than the U.S., you have completely ignored both times I have clearly and painstakingly said that the U.S. implementation does not save money. So yes, your point is completely, absolutely irrelevant.

I’ll say it a third time, for the heck of it: it is generally accepted that in the U.S., it currently more expensive to put someone to death than to keep them in prison for life. In other words, for the third time, I will specifically state that I am not “claim[ing] that the state murdering people saves children”. I am specifically pointing out that given there are finite resources in the world, giving to one necessarily means depriving another. My claim is that theoretically, the death penalty could be cheaper than keeping someone who would otherwise be incarcerated until death in prison. If this is the case, we could instead be devoting those resources to someone more deserving, such as the innocent and needy.

So. Let me get this straight. The money saved when killing a man instead of giving him a life sentence, goes directly to the war on AIDS and hunger? Get real, you know just as well as I do that any money the US might save when killing a man goes to anything but charity. Theoratically, you may have a point. Practicially, you’re being slightly delusional.

Again, why are you mentioning the U.S.? When have I ever mentioned the U.S. system, other than to say that its implementation does not adhere to my beliefs, since it’s actually more expensive? And certainly, in any particular government, I personally am not in charge of where the resources go. But again, that’s irrelevant. You said that only “barbarians” would support the death penalty, whereas my response is that, in my opinion, it’s much more “barbarian-like” to favor distribution of resources to brutal murders than to needy innocents. This is completely independent of what any government (existing or theoretical) would actually do; it’s a statement of what I believe is right.

I’m feeling physically disgusted at the idea of people defending the killing of prisoners just because else they may cost to much

You’re more than welcome to feel sick. Personally, I feel sick when I hear people say that brutal murderers deserve resources more than the innocent needy. I also feel that as your responses are consistently straw man arguments, snide comments about a government that I am not even defending, or ad hominem attacks, the weaknesses in your argument are quite obvious, even to you.

Why don’t you guys stop spending so much money (that you do not have, I might add) on (illegal) wars, and instead spend THAT money on saving the poor in your country? Do you really think the little amount of money saved by eradicating murderers does NOT pale into insignficancw when compared to the huge amounts of money spent on the US military? You are comparing a dime to a billion!

Yet again, you’re arguing about the priorities of the U.S. government, which is anything but what I am talking about here. I’m confused as to how, given that I have never mentioned the priorities of the U.S. government here, you could possibly believe this to be relevant.

…However, he discovers his wife is sleeping with someone else. In a crime passionèl, he kills them both…In a desperate act to get some money to feed his family, he tries to rob a licquor store; it goes a bit wrong, and he kills one shopclerck and someone else in the shop.

First off, both of these examples are flawed, since I don’t think most people would support life-prison sentences for either of these men, and when explaining my position, I am referring specifically to cases where not only does the person have a life sentence, but there is also no ability for early release (such as the monster Eugenia just mentioned). A single crime of passion does not imply repeated offenses (as with, say, a sociopath or serial killer). A more accurate example would be that the stress of his work led him to go on a rampage, killing ten people in a brutal fashion.

So now, in this new situation, would I support the death penalty? Absolutely. “But millions could be saved!” Sure, maybe they could, if he were to actually cure it, but that’s a “the ends justify anything” argument. By this logic, if they were impeding his work, he has the right to do anything and kill anyone, because surely 200 lives are nothing compared to millions saved, right? Only a monster would impede anyone who could possibly cure cancer, no matter what he does, right? Maybe the experiments performed on Jews in the Holocaust were acceptable after all, because they might have cured some disease “for the greater good”, right?

The scientist would get to finish his cure for cancer, working from within prison.

Again, the details of your country are irrelevant to this discussion, but out of tangential curiosity, they would furnish him with a multi-multi-million dollar (substitute appropriate currency/conversion here) lab to work in while in prison? Complete with aids, lab assistants, and so forth? As in, provide sufficient resources such that he is every bit as efficient in prison as he was before he was incarcerated? What if he doesn’t succeed?

(because remember, the death penalty also hugely affects people who have no connection to the crime at all, how fair is that?)

So, since having a father go to prison also “hugely affects” his child, I suppose that’s unfair too, right? And if he gets a speeding ticket and has to pay a fine, that might also affect the child, so that can’t be fair, right? Your basic logic here is that “child has relationship with father, and thus will be affected if anything happens to father. Therefore, child has right to have nothing happen to father.”

Similarly, I presume that the Enron executives should never have been prosecuted, since many innocent employees were affected when things went public and the stock tanked. Right?


Thom Holwerda wrote on July 12th, 2006 at 10:29 AM PST:

I obviously focus on the US as that is the only western country (actively) employing the death penalty.


Thom Holwerda wrote on July 13th, 2006 at 5:37 AM PST:

You accuse me of strawman arguments, however, you have not been able to prodivde us with one argument as to why to kill people that have commited serious crimes. All you can come up with is an unproven, untested theory; that killing prisoners saves money which can be used to feed hungry children. However, the only implementation of your theory in the western world, namely, the United States, shows that your theory does not hold up in practice.

I, on the other hand, have given multiple reasons as to why the death penalty is rather pointless:

a) it does not seem to have a deterring effect. The reinstatement of the death penalty in the US has not led to a decrease in the number of (brutal) murders. In fact, western countries without the death penalty have much lower murder rates. Causal, no. Interesting, yes.

b) the death penalty affects people with no relation to the commited crime much greater than when this person is sent to jail. The death of i.e. a father might lead to the children developing traumas, which in turn might lead to substantial psychological damage, maybe even breeding more killers.

c) the most important one: since all humans are equal, other humans cannot decide over another human being’s life. Only an authority higher than mankind can do so. One man cannot decide over another man’s life. You might want to throw centuries of civilisation away, but I do not. Luckily, most of the world’s population agrees with me, as countries without the death penalty far outnumber those that do.

You are trying to make it seem as if I am trying to offend you; and in some way, you are right. I despise people who support killing other human beings. You can have a shiny theory on resource allocation to sooth your own conscience, but more civilised people like me simply are not tricked that easily.

But, go ahead, sooth your conscience. Do you want to pull the trigger when your father gets sentenced to death?

http://cogscanthink.blogsome.com/2005/12/11/the-mercy-seat/


bkakes wrote on July 13th, 2006 at 9:48 AM PST:

All you can come up with is an unproven, untested theory; that killing prisoners saves money which can be used to feed hungry children

Yes. I am saying that choosing to allocate resources to brutal murderers instead of the innocent is morally wrong.

However, the only implementation of your theory in the western world, namely, the United States, shows that your theory does not hold up in practice.

To be perfectly clear, you’re saying that because one implementation does not choose to allocate resources as I believe is moral, therefore the moral argument is wrong?

I, on the other hand, have given multiple reasons as to why the death penalty is rather pointless:

Sure, you’re arguing the pragmatism of the U.S. implementation, whereas I believe the resource allocation decision to be morally wrong.

The death of i.e. a father might lead to the children developing traumas, which in turn might lead to substantial psychological damage, maybe even breeding more killers.

Sure, and as I pointed out in my previous reply, this logic is rather faulty.

One man cannot decide over another man’s life.

Yup, and as I’ve pointed out in multiple replies, in any case where this might be necessary, you’ve sidestepped the decision. In other words, it seems you would choose to allow men to murder millions of innocents rather than stop them, because you do not have the moral authority to do so. (Actually, you’ll rebut by saying “no, they should stop them without using lethal force”, each and every time conveniently neglecting to mention how it could possibly be achieved. Your “solution” relies on there never being a case where you have to make sure decisions.)

You are trying to make it seem as if I am trying to offend you; and in some way, you are right.

You’re not trying to offend me in terms of my argument — if nothing else, you’ve been quite adept at not responding to any portion that finds fault in your arguments — but you have thrown in a liberal amount of “my country rules! Yours sux0rs!” as if that could possibly offend me. Not to mention ad hominem attacks, but that’s fine by me, because as I mentioned, there’s no better way to publicly state “I know I lost” than those. ;) Thankfully, I’m not easily offended. ;)

but more civilised people like me simply are not tricked that easily.

See, this is emblematic of the problems with your argument: you can’t morally justify your position, so you sidestep the real questions and resort to vague notions of “it’s more civilized” (whatever the hell that actually means) to attempt to justify your opinion. Thankfully, no reasonably person will ever be swayed by such desperate attempts.

Do you want to pull the trigger when your father gets sentenced to death?

If he molested, sliced apart, and then ate my brother and mother, along with multiple other people, you bet I would.


bkakes wrote on July 13th, 2006 at 9:50 AM PST:

“reasonably” should be “reasonable”, yes, fine. ;)


Thom Holwerda wrote on July 13th, 2006 at 11:30 AM PST:

Yes, indeed, we can solve conflicts using non-lethal means. The only thing stopping us from doing that is the lack of willpower among our leaders.

And since you are so keen on resource allocation, I guess you also are in favour of kiling all mentally challanged people? I mean, they cost a whole lot of money that could be better spent on saving normal little children with bright futures, right?

Because, that is what you are saying here. One human being is less worthy of life than another. And who gets to make the judgement? Who gets to declare someone unfit to live? A judge? But… Don’t all humans make mistakes? Or are you willing to accept that as colleteral damage?


Thom Holwerda wrote on July 14th, 2006 at 3:41 AM PST:

I could just as easily say, “Would you still support life-in-prison sentences if your father were sent to prison for the rest of his life, wrongfully? Assume that the evidence of innocence was not uncovered until after his death.”

I would rather have my father sent to prison for the rest of his life, wrongly, than have him killed by the state, wrongly.

So, someone is in wrongfully put in prison from age 20 to age 70. You then uncover the mistake and set him free. Financial compensation is supposed to mean anything to him? As in, that’s a good enough “undo” that the “collateral damage” you seem to fear is suddenly within acceptable bounds?

No. But having someone in prison for the rest of his life, wrongly, is still better than have him killed by the state, wrongly.

Excellent. Please explain how you would give someone wrongfully convicted for ten years those ten years of their life back. Or, rather than “irrevocable”, did you mean “not able to be tempered”?

As I said, you cannot. But at least you can do more for him if he still alive, than when he is dead.

Specifics, please? As in, how would you do it, using the means available?

There are tons of sedatives that can be shot with a gun (much like we use to sedate large animals when we want to relocate them). There are various different types of stun guns, either for use in close range, as for long range. There are auditory weapons, that produce special noises that incapacitates people. Heck, there are even ‘foam guns’ that shoot a sticky kind of foam that does not kill people, but instead just makes them 100% immobile.

I could go on, you want me to?

How is it irrelevant? You made the argument that killing a human is always wrong; I presented a simple case where I believe this to be untrue. Has this changed in the past 60 years? It used to be acceptable, but now it’s not?

Killing a human is indeed always wrong. Ethically, nothing has changed. I still condemn the killing of german soldiers in WWII; they killed people, people with friends, families, fears, hopes, loves, and hates.

However, that is all in hindsight. Today, a war can be fought completely non-lethal, using weapons like the ones I described above. They did not have that technology 60 years ago, hence, the only solution back then was the ‘old fashioned way’. It was the best thing they could do, however, that does NOT make it right. It does NOT change the fact that killing is killing. I understand why, but does that automatically mean I have to ethically approve of it?

I absoultely hate spiders. I kill one when I see it in my house, using a vacuum cleaner. It is the only thing I can do, as I am too full of fear to just pick it up. Does this mean I ethically approve the fact I am killing that spider, a living creature? Of course not!


bkakes wrote on July 14th, 2006 at 7:00 AM PST:

Yes, indeed, we can solve conflicts using non-lethal means. The only thing stopping us from doing that is the lack of willpower among our leaders.

Ok, but I would like to explicitly note here that time and time again, you have neglected to answer the simple dilemma I posed. It would be interesting to see a rigid analysis how all conflicts in the world can necessarily be handled non-lethally.

And since you are so keen on resource allocation, I guess you also are in favour of kiling all mentally challanged people? I mean, they cost a whole lot of money that could be better spent on saving normal little children with bright futures, right?

No, because mentally challenged people are as innocent as the children. What we’re talking about here are people who are guilty of heinous crimes, who we have agreed to never allow back into society (in other words, life in prison). The mentally challenged have the same rights as everyone else. It’s only when you deprive others of theirs that you lose yours.

One human being is less worthy of life than another

Absolutely, a brutal murderer is less worthy of life than an innocent person.

Who gets to declare someone unfit to live? A judge?

Lawmakers, using (hopefully) the same moral arguments that I am using here.

Don’t all humans make mistakes? Or are you willing to accept that as colleteral damage?

Sure, there are inevitable mistakes. As I mentioned in my very first post here, I presume that you’re against any sort of punishment at all, then, right? Because nothing in the world is undoable. If you don’t accept collateral damage, than you can do absolutely nothing.


Thom Holwerda wrote on July 14th, 2006 at 8:24 AM PST:

I haven’t neglected the dilemma. I answered it a couple of times: using non-lethal means. The fact they didn’t have that technoogy 60 years ago is irrelevant; I live in the now.

As I mentioned in my very first post here, I presume that you’re against any sort of punishment at all, then, right?

No, I’m against punishments that are irrevokable.

Because nothing in the world is undoable. If you don’t accept collateral damage, than you can do absolutely nothing.

Prison time can be compensated. Not turned back, but compensated, financially. It will not turn back the hands of time, but it will make things better, partially. You cannot do that when you murder someone. If that turns out to be a mistake, you cannot bring that person back to life.

Would you still support the death penalty, and be so careless about any mistakes, if your father got sentenced to death, wrongfully?


bkakes wrote on July 14th, 2006 at 8:59 AM PST:

I answered it a couple of times: using non-lethal means. The fact they didn’t have that technoogy 60 years ago is irrelevant; I live in the now.

Specifics, please? As in, how would you do it, using the means available?

The fact they didn’t have that technoogy 60 years ago is irrelevant; I live in the now.

How is it irrelevant? You made the argument that killing a human is always wrong; I presented a simple case where I believe this to be untrue. Has this changed in the past 60 years? It used to be acceptable, but now it’s not? Choosing World War II as an example was fun because it was an example you already used. I could just as easily devise the exact same moral dilemma using a different setting and modern technology, should you desire. The only answers you’ve ever given are that “there’s never a situation where you have to kill the person” (regardless of the fact that I trivially devised one already, and could just as trivially devise many more).

No, I’m against punishments that are irrevokable.

Excellent. Please explain how you would give someone wrongfully convicted for ten years those ten years of their life back. Or, rather than “irrevocable”, did you mean “not able to be tempered”?

Prison time can be compensated. Not turned back, but compensated, financially. It will not turn back the hands of time, but it will make things better, partially. You cannot do that when you murder someone. If that turns out to be a mistake, you cannot bring that person back to life.

So, someone is in wrongfully put in prison from age 20 to age 70. You then uncover the mistake and set him free. Financial compensation is supposed to mean anything to him? As in, that’s a good enough “undo” that the “collateral damage” you seem to fear is suddenly within acceptable bounds?

Would you still support the death penalty, and be so careless about any mistakes, if your father got sentenced to death, wrongfully?

“Careless”? Who said “careless”? Obviously, any wrongful conviction, my father or otherwise, is a horrible thing. I am not saying anything about being “careless” and accepting sloppy work, etc. Quite the contrary. But yes, I would still support it, as this is terrible logical justification against something, as I’ve already shown. I could just as easily say, “Would you still support life-in-prison sentences if your father were sent to prison for the rest of his life, wrongfully? Assume that the evidence of innocence was not uncovered until after his death.”


Thom Holwerda wrote on July 15th, 2006 at 4:52 AM PST:

As stated above, this is sidestepping the moral question. Hopefully, my clarification of the question above has made this clear.

I am not sidestepping anything. I cannot make it any clearer than this: it is always morally incorrect to kill a person. However, sometimes, I can understand why it is/was nescesary. However, that understanding does NOT make it right. Is that really that hard to udnerstand?

See my spider example if it’s too difficult.


bkakes wrote on July 15th, 2006 at 10:45 AM PST:

I would rather have my father sent to prison for the rest of his life, wrongly, than have him killed by the state, wrongly.

Ok, but that wasn’t the question.

No. But having someone in prison for the rest of his life, wrongly, is still better than have him killed by the state, wrongly.

“Better” enough such that your collateral damage fears are completely assuaged? Why?

As I said, you cannot. But at least you can do more for him if he still alive, than when he is dead.

Agreed. But “doing more” doesn’t fall within the definition of “revocable”, the word you used. Hence, my suggestion of “tempering”, which is a quite different argument.

There are tons of sedatives that can be shot with a gun (much like we use to sedate large animals when we want to relocate them). There are various different types of stun guns, either for use in close range, as for long range. There are auditory weapons, that produce special noises that incapacitates people. Heck, there are even ‘foam guns’ that shoot a sticky kind of foam that does not kill people, but instead just makes them 100% immobile.

I could go on, you want me to?

You could go on, but there’s no need as it’s not particularly relevant. You’re arguing tools that police and military can use today in a variety of situations, but that’s not really the point. Since over multiple posts you have never addressed the main point I raised, I fear that perhaps I wasn’t clear enough with it, so I will attempt to restate it:

You argue that there is never a situation is which it is morally acceptable for one human being to kill another. I have challenged this by presenting a trivial scenario that implements the following question: is it acceptable to kill a human being if not killing him/her means that more (perhaps many more) innocents will die? There are only three possible answers to this:

1. Yes, there are situations where it would be acceptable.
2. No, it is never acceptable.
3. There are never any situations in which you must kill one human to prevent the death of others; thus, the question is invalid.

If the answer is (1), as I believe it is, then your universal statement about killing never being acceptable cannot be true, undermining the foundation of your entire “the death penalty is wrong” argument.

If you claim the answer is (2), I would ask that you double-check your beliefs. Do you really think it moral to allow, say, hundreds of innocent Jews to be butchered because you are obligated to let the guard live? (Claiming that there will never be such a situation is, of course, point 3, to be addressed below.) And do you really want to argue that the notion of self-defense is incorrect and immoral?

So far, throughout your various responses, you seem to have stuck to the (3) route. But this is easily proven false, such as in the trivial “machine gun bunker” example I posited. Or, for a different take, think of something along the lines of the U.S. 9/11 attacks, but assume the flights were empty of passengers. Meaning, the plane is occupied/flown by a handful of terrorists and no one else, because they were able to purchase a plane with the intention of using it as a weapon. They are headed to an office building, where if they succeed in crashing the plane, thousands of innocents will die. Say you, being the president with a good intelligence network, have just enough warning and a fighter jet close enough to shoot them down, even though you did not succeed in keeping them from acquiring the plane in the first place. Of course, completely evacuating a 100-story building in only a few minutes is not an option. How could you possibly prevent the thousands of deaths without shooting down the plane, and in the process, killing the terrorists? Will your sedatives and audible weapons help you here?

Or, per (2), would the “morally correct” decision be to not shoot it down, because killing is always wrong, instead choosing to let them kill thousands in some office building?

However, that is all in hindsight…It was the best thing they could do, however, that does NOT make it right. It does NOT change the fact that killing is killing. I understand why, but does that automatically mean I have to ethically approve of it?

As stated above, this is sidestepping the moral question. Hopefully, my clarification of the question above has made this clear.


bkakes wrote on July 17th, 2006 at 5:10 AM PST:

I am not sidestepping anything. I cannot make it any clearer than this: it is always morally incorrect to kill a person. However, sometimes, I can understand why it is/was nescesary.

Ok, so in your morality, it is morally “incorrect” to kill people who will fly a plane into a building, killing thousands. (Interesting that it’s apparently immoral to kill, but morally “correct” to let people be killed.) And your “solution” to difficult problems is that “sometimes it’s necessary to what is not morally correct.” As in, “my moral beliefs are so perverse that it’s often necessary to ignore them.”

See my spider example if it’s too difficult.

It’s not difficult so much as ridiculous.


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