Death Penalty: Hypocritical bullshit

Gosh, I love it when the title gets the job done, don’t you?

Actually, I should be clearer, really. For myself, in my fascist heart (those of you who have been paying attention know that my Gemini nature plays itself out in my multi-political stances: mostly liberal/fascist, with varying appearances of libertarian/eco-terrorist/socialist) I think there are people who just missed the humanity boat and therefore deserved to be put to death in the most revolting manner possible: Dahmer being a prime example…

But the calm, thoughtful, careful liberal in me took the time one day to examine the issue more closely, and discovered that, based on the Constitution’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment, I have to withhold my support of the death penalty in real life. And my reasoning is simple, and subjective: to me, the most disturbing, terrifying, upsetting, horrifying and general unpleasant thing in the world would be to not only know how you are going to die, but to know the exact day, hour and minute. That would drive me insane. That would be cruel beyond measure. I think I’d rather be stretched on a rack.

Therefore… the death penalty, to me, by its very nature embodies the idea of cruel punishments.

Ta da!

Talk amongst yourselves.


Thesaurus: An ancient reptile with an excellent vocabulary

Stoidela says:

I must say that the EXACT opposite is true for me. I would LOVE it if somebody told me when I was going to die, and how. I think that the general population fears NOT knowing the most.

Now, I don’t agree with the death penalty simply because it’s murder. I think a much better punishment would be to put the prisoner in a dark little room, and leave them there for the rest of their lives. They could never, ever leave, and they’d be all alone forever, with nothing to do but stare at a wall. No books, no TV, no windows, no visitors…etc. I agree that you should not torture them physically, and they should be fed, and somehow kept clean. But it’s still a far more horrific punishment than the death penalty.


I can be a really liberal guy, but this issue makes me seem like a total conservative:

If you kill someone, you should die. If you kill someone I love, you will die (read into that what you will).

Yes, there are shades of gray, and while the above may seem like a black & white statement, in fact I know that there are circumstances that would call for lesser punishments. That is for the judge to decide…

I do have a problem with how the death penalty is implemented, however. I think it’s bullshit that if I kill a black man, I probably won’t fry, though if a black man kills me, he probably will.

I think it should be more standard and definitely be more colorblind than it currently is.

As for the usual arguments, yes, it has been proven not to be a determent to other murders. But it IS a determent to the murdered who is killed! After all, they don’t kill again, do they?

And I do worry about an innocent person being killed, but I also think that is one of the gray areas i talk about. If the case is proven beyond a reasonable doubt but not a shadow of a doubt, a lesser sentance should be given; again, the judge can make that determination.

But I can say this without hesitation - If any of you who are against the death penalty were to have a husband, wife or child snuffed out by someone, I’ll bet youdd change your tune. If not, fine - We can let them live in jail the rest of their life while you pay the taxes for it!

Brian O’Neill
CMC International Records

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I find the death penalty to be unacceptable in all situations, for a variety of reasons (none of which involve any sympathy per se for the prisoners condemned to die, most of whom deserve worse than death).

However, given that capital punishment’s existence is expressly recognized in the constitution at several points, I cannot agree that it is inherently “cruel and unusual punishment” within the meaning of the Eighth Amendment.

I think I speak for those adamantly indifferent to capital punishment. The uncontested fact is that death row inmates are almost unimaginably despicable. Whether these wretches live out their lives in prison or are executed is of no practical importance. Get them off the street and out of society. Period.

Stoi: how do you reconcile the Constitution’s support of the death penalty?


Considering that you look upon death as a positive thing, your attitude is completely understandable and consistent. I don’t share it, obviously. I like thinking I have alot more time than I might in reality have.

I do agree with you about horrible punishments, though. In the movies, the bad people always get killed int he end. That drives me nuts. If thier dead, how can they appreciate how awful their predicament is? They’ve been taken out of the game. Far better to torture them.


Many people who have lost loved ones to the hands of others remain opposed to the death penalty. Many.

And perhaps you mean deterrant. So far as I’m aware, determent isn’t a word.

It’s alot mroe expensive to go through the death penalty appeals process than it is to simply lock someone up forever, BTW.

And as for the innocent dying? Better that the guilty should go free. What if YOU were the innocent wrongly convicted?

Dirty Devil:
Adamant indifference…now there’s a concept!

Monty, Big Iron:

Constitution is always being interpreted and re-interpreted. In MY interpretation, the death penalty qualifies and C&U, for reasons set forth at the beginning.


Thesaurus: An ancient reptile with an excellent vocabulary

That would be: “if THEY’RE dead”

First of all:

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Main Entry: de·ter

Pronunciation: <tt>di-'t&r, dE-</tt>

Function: transitive verb

Inflected Form(s): de·terred; de·ter·ring

Etymology: Latin *deterrEre, *from *de- + terrEre *to frighten
– more at <font size=-1><a href="…/…/dictionary?book=Dictionary&va=terror">TERROR</a></font>

Date: 1579

1 : to turn aside, discourage, or prevent from acting

2 : <font size=-1><a href="…/…/dictionary?book=Dictionary&va=inhibit">INHIBIT</a></font>

  • de·ter·ment /<tt>-'t&r-m&nt</tt>/ noun

  • de·ter·ra·bil·i·ty /<tt>-"t&r-&-'bi-l&-tE</tt>/

  • de·ter·ra·ble /<tt>-'t&r-&-b&l</tt>/

Second of all, I do not doubt many people still are against the death penalty after a loved one is taken away. But you don’t answer whether you are one of them. I hope you never have to find out…

My point is a lot of people change their tunes when tragedy strikes close to home. I’ve seen it happen…

And as far as I’m concerned, if the family of a loved one tells the judge and jury that they do not agree with the death penalty, and didn’t think the deceased would, they should take that very seriously into consideration when the sentence is decided.

Third of all, the only reason it costs so much for the appeals process is that we allow too damn many appeals. Death row should offer much shorter stays. If the scum on death row can take the life of someone for no reason and do it in the space of a moment, we can make their death row stay almost as brief.

As for the innocent getting fried, I submit that it regretably has occured in our time, and no doubt some anti-death penalty sort will mention a few cases.

Nobody ever said our system was perfect. And I think the only way you fry someone is if you have overwhelming evidence. As in witnesses, being found with the victims blood and the weapon in your possession, positive DNA analysis - not just a little of the above, ALL of the above. Maybe more, even.

You can be convicted of murder beyond a reasonable doubt and be jailed for life; if you would re-read what I wrote, I said the death penalty would go to those proven guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt. And a judge can make that determination.

I do not advocate random killings and kangaroo courts here. I suggest a systematic way of making sure that if you take a life, you will have yours taken from you.

How about doing something about cruel and unusual crimes? How about doing something for the victims? How about keeping killers where they can truly do no more harm - not in a 6x6 cell, but 6 feet under?

Brian O’Neill
CMC International Records

ICQ 35294890
AIM Scrabble1
Yahoo Messenger Brian_ONeill

Good enough.

Speaking of witnesses, did you happen to see the 48 Hours last night where they did the little test on eyewitnessing? Very interesting. Shows to go ya that eyewitness testimony is pretty worthless.

Wonder how many people have been sent to their deaths on the basis of eyewitness testimony that left no doubt, especially prior to the days of DNA?


Thesaurus: An ancient reptile with an excellent vocabulary

I have wrestled with this one all my life. In the end, I lean towards anti-DP. All other arguments aside, it’s the fact that it’s irreversible that really gets to me. Now if Dahmer or O.J. or whoever confesses to the crime and chooses death over life in prison…let 'em have it. But we see imprisoned people being found innocent after 2 or 3 or 10 or 20 years in prison. You can’t give them their time back, but at least you can let them out. What is the acceptable number of innocent people that we can put to death? Zero.

Someone I love is in jail for murder. He did it. I have to say that I am glad that it was not charged as a death penalty offense. Made all the Chicago newspapers a couple of years ago (for which I have formed the strong opinion that the Trib doesn’t care what you say – they’ll quote you as saying what they want you to say). This is the only time in his life he has had “trouble with the law.” Before this he was just another white collar kind of guy, a 'puter geek, good job with a nice mid-five figures income.

I was surprised at how intensely we, his family, felt the pain of the victim’s family. We cried together, at least some of us, and some of us prayed together. They had a great deal of (justified) anger, but they did not seek the death penalty. I think they did not want to put us through the grief that they themselves had experienced. They DID seek a long prison sentence.

On the other hand, there are people who have been executed I shed no tears for. Especially those who have killed repeatedly, and have stated that if given the opportunity they would do so again. (I will not dignify by posting it the name of the man executed here in California a few years ago for kidnapping, molesting, and murdering so many teenage boys. He was one who admitted his guilt and said he’d do it again.)

I have no answer here – I straddle the fence, I admit. I do agree that it scares me that innocent people have been executed, and have come too close to being executed. Maybe Phil is right (gasp! Did I really say that? ;)) and we should lock ‘em up and throw away the key, but I’m not sure that that gives me enough security. Time and philosophy and practicality all cause changes. My loved one mentioned above was sentenced to 25 years. He gets a day’s extra credit for each day of good behavior – and he is a model of a prisoner – so that he could actually be out in 12.5 years. Lately there has been discussion that due to prison overcrowding they may start giving two days’ extra credit for each day of good behavior, meaning that he could be out in 8.33 years. From my point of view that’s a good thing – I know that he is no danger to anyone else. But I don’t know that that’s the case about a lot of people who may be in the same position.

There’s no conclusion to this post, really. I don’t have the answer, just lots of questions and concerns.


In order to protect itself, the Society as a whole must be ruthless. A person who steps outside of Society and murders must be delt with as harshly as we deal with rabid animals. Of course there are exceptions to every rule. The man in a drunken rage who shoots his brother over a minor manner most likely doesn’t desever to be hooked up to Ol’ Sparky. On the other hand, I think anyone who harms a child should be cooked up within the month.

If calling the Death Penalty the Revenge Penalty makes it easier for people, then so be it. Will we as a Society put to death innocent people? Without a doubt. But since we have decided to use the death penalty, we will have to live with that as well.

I wouldn’t mind if every one on Death Row was offed in a single weekend. And to “balance” things out for all this bloodshed, I think everyone in jail right now for a minor drug offense that did not involve any weapons should be set free. Not pardoned, mind you, but given a chance to do something worthwhile for Society with a stern warning to not return to the prison system.

And finally, lethal injection seems like the way to go. Why Florida is sticking with Ol’ Sparky strikes me as not as cruel, but stupid.



Emphasis added. Do I have to point out the contradiction here?

Personally I don’t care which is more expensive, executions or imprisonment. And I think a society which makes decisions about whether a person lives or dies on the basis of cost-effectiveness, is a society in real trouble.

Never regret what seemed like a good idea at the time.

Why do we punish criminals?

  1. As a deterrant: so others are discouraged from committing crimes
  2. As a punishment: the criminal simply “deserves” to be punished
  3. For revenge: I- or society- will feel better if the criminal is punished
  4. Rehabilitation: change the criminal into a productive member of society
  5. Retribution: the criminal pays back his victims or society, for example by paying a fine or doing community service.

Every punishment we use fits into one or more of these. What is the death penalty’s purpose? It’s not a deterrant (as others have pointed out), nor is it rehabilitation or retribution (executing the murderer doesn’t bring his victim back to life). That leaves us with punishment or revenge.

It seems to me, reading these posts, that most of those who favor the death penalty view it as a tool for revenge. (To quote egospark as an example: “If calling the Death Penalty the Revenge Penalty makes it easier for people, then so be it.”)

Is this a legitimate reason for the state to kill people? Pardon the awful cliche, but two wrongs don’t make a right. Feeling vindicated or joyful as a result of another person’s death, even when that person is a scumsucking lowlife who killed someone you love, is not a good thing.

To quote Satan: “If you kill someone, you should die.” This is viewing the death penalty as punishment, which is arguably the only legitimate reason to use it. Still, the issue isn’t exactly clear cut. Is the death penalty the most appropriate punishment? Maybe, maybe not. If life in prison without the possibility of parole is as appropriate a punishment as the death penalty, we should use prison. If the death penalty is to be used it must not only be superior to life imprisonment, it must be superior enough to offset the inevitable result that innocent people will occasionally be executed.

Is use of the death penalty valuable enough to compensate for innocent person’s death? If not, the death penalty should not be used. No matter how elaborate (or expensive) the controls, an innocent person will slip through the cracks. History has shown this to be true; nothing has changed to suggest it can’t happen again.

On the one hand:

But on the other hand:

So, those who did nothing should be killed, while those who actually broke the law should be let free. Am I the only one who thinks this makes no sense whatsoever?

This is the ultimate bullshit, illogical, appeal-to-emotion argument. You are privy to no such knowledge about anyone, and frankly, I have more respect for people who stick to their principles than who sing a different tune when it happens to them.

You have to pay for it whether someone has personally wronged you or not, and the penal system is not anyone’s personal revenge mechanism, so this is also meaningless.

Stoi: you may consider the death penalty to be cruel and unusual punishment; heck, I may also. The fact remains, however, that the constitution itself does not consider it that way; therefore, said penatly is not unconstitutional.

[[Constitution is always being interpreted and re-interpreted. In MY interpretation, the death penalty qualifies and C&U, for reasons set forth at the beginning.]] Stoi
Since several Supreme Court Justices share your view, I suppose this interpretation cannot be dismissed out of hand, but it seems to be unreasonable to interpret a document expressly recognizing execution as a criminal punishment to forbid such punishment.

Actually, the arguments (or most of them) that the D.P. constitutes cruel and unusual punishment do not arise from the punishment itself (putting someone to death), but from its application. In modern America, it may take years for a state to put a criminal to death, while the criminal waits through multiple appeals, stays are imposed and lifted, the date is set and reset. Meanwhile, the criminal literally does not know if he or she is to live or to die. The question is whether it’s acceptable to put someone to death fifteen or twenty years after their offense – THAT’S arguably the cruel and unusual part. The problem, of course, is that the process of appealling and reviewing a death sentence MUST be allowed to run completely, without deadline or impediment, PRECISELY so that innocent people are not executed. So what’s the answer? You got me. BTW, I have absolutely nothing against the death penalty in theory or as a punishment, but I do have a problem with the its application, because I am not convinced it is applied fairly.