I'm Against Capital Punishment but I'm Not Crying Today

The Feds are executing their first female prisoner in 67 years. Now, I am against the death penalty, but I shed no tears for this person, Lisa Montgomery.

The reason I oppose capital punishment is because of the possibility of killing an innocent person. The criminal justice system has been wrong so many times. But they caught Lisa with the baby that she had cut out of a murdered pregnant woman.

So Lisa’s mentally ill? I don’t doubt it. But then, so am I. I’ve been clinically depressed for over forty years. I still know it’s wrong to slice open a woman to steal her baby. I’m sure Lisa Montgomery knew that too.

I’ve would’ve accepted that she spend her life in prison. I’m still against the death penalty. But I don’t feel badly at all about this.

I am, or was, in favor of the penalty.

Reading the AP story today about Lisa Montgomery’s execution, I burst into tears. I can’t properly put all my thoughts down, but this was, IMO, wrong. I agree that what she did was heinous; it is so depraved that it boggles the mind to even think about as an abstract, let alone a real occurrence.

And yet, I cried and think this was wrong.

That has made me think that maybe, possibly even probably, the whole thing is just wrong.

I’m frustrated by my inability to organize and coalesce all the thoughts I have about this, but I’m not sure I can support the death penalty any longer.

I’m against the DP as well, for the same reason you are, and rarely shed tears for anybody who is executed. They are, almost universally, terrible people who did terrible things. It’s the almost that’s the main problem, and the outrageous resources poured into committing an act of vengeance that doesn’t serve the cause of justice.

Good riddance…

The idea of punishment of any kind solely for retribution is unethical, and to execute someone for retribution is grotesque.

So what justification is there here? It hardly seems credible that there could be any deterrent effect. Such a deranged crime is unlikely to be amenable to any rational consideration of the consequences.

I’m not in principle opposed to the death penalty, but I think the only possible ethical justification is analogous to euthanizing a violent animal, permanent removal of someone so broken that there is just nothing else. Was Montgomery such a case? Was there really nothing better we could do with her, or do we just not have the inclination to try? Perhaps we just don’t have the resources, but I hope at some point humanity will reach a point where we can afford better solutions.

I know it wasn’t your aim but thank you; this is about how I view the death penalty and a large part of what has bothered me about today’s execution. I don’t know what about this one has affected my perception or thinking, but something clearly has.

Was there really nothing better we could do with her (or any other condemned prisoner)?

Let’s see, “I think intentionally taking the life of another human being is so heinous that I’m going to kill you even though you have been tried, convicted, and imprisoned and are no longer a threat to society.” How contradictory is that?

It’s revenge, nothing more, and revenge isn’t justice, it is a craving to get even.

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I used to be for the death penalty when I was young, dumb and listened to Limbaugh and his ilk. I have grown since then. Now I oppose it because many innocent people have been put to death and it disproportionally affects minorities.

However, if it was used on rich execs such as the creators/sellers of the Dalkon Sheild or the Sackler family who largely created the opioid crisis I’d be willing to support it.

Lisa Montgomery deserved death.

Capital punishment is still wrong, though. It would be wrong even if no innocent person was ever executed.

These aren’t contradictory positions.

Let’s kill people, for killing people, so they’ll learn that killing people is wrong.

There is NO justification for what this woman did, but have you read the absolutely horrific conditions she suffered as a child? No one would be okay after that, ever.

Yeah, that’s my POV. I used to be for the death penalty when I was younger - but even then I wanted it severely limited to make sure only people we are completely sure are guilty get executed. But these days I’m against it in totality (mostly due to religious reasons). Though for secular reasons, I feel the death penalty reduces the morality of the state and feel the state should not be making the decision to kill its own citizens. In addition there are numerous cases where people are sure that the person on Death Row was guilty only for DNA evidence to have emerged showing otherwise.

I am pro capital punishment. I believe I generally understand the reasoning behind the ‘innocent people being killed’ counter-argument. But time cannot be reversed and locking up an innocent person for the majority of their life doesn’t seem much better.

If an innocent man is convicted at 30 and then proclaimed innocent and released at 80 it is still a tragedy. It’s not like we are able to make it right or give him his life back.

Really? It’s just to kill this woman, when those who made her what she is go free?

The New York Times wrote in December that Montgomery “[had] bipolar disorder, temporal lobe epilepsy, complex post-traumatic stress disorder, dissociative disorder, psychosis, traumatic brain injury, and most likely fetal alcohol syndrome.” Montgomery was reportedly raped by her stepfather and his friends repeatedly, on some days for hours at a time, beginning when she was 13, and was eventually forced into sex work by her own mother. This information, along with the scans showing Montgomery’s extensive brain damage, wasn’t made available to the jury who suggested the penalty of death.

But all of this information was available years after Montgomery had been put on death row when there was still time to amend her sentence to incorporate the years of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse that destroyed the parts of her brain “responsible for regulating social and emotional behavior and memory,” the Times explains. One of Montgomery’s lawyers who had been working to get Montgomery off death row released a statement calling her execution a violation of the constitution writing, “Our Constitution forbids the execution of a person who is unable to rationally understand her execution. The current administration knows this. And they killed her anyway.”

Nice morality you have there, she’s just as much a victim as the person she killed but hey, justice, right?

I used to be pretty strongly in favor of capital punishment but am now mostly against capital punishment, save for a few exceptions.

I was against her execution. What she did was awful, but she was also clearly mentally destroyed by the time she reached adulthood.

I can understand that execution might give “closure” to some people, but a society that encourages killing as a form of justice is probably inherently unjust,

Her dad had a special room to rape her, his friends raped her and pissed on her, her mom held a gun to her head when she caught them in the secret room…way more sh*t in this family - wish they all could be fumigated with her.

What exactly is justice?

To paraphrase Clarence Darrow
Justice cannot be defined, but compassion, love and mercy can.

Our universe is not inherently just or fair, and it is not made so by acts of retribution.

Our criminal justice system is based on the flawed concept of mens rea, which is essentially the same illogical notion as “free will”. It makes a false and aribtrary distinction between those who are deemed “responsible” for their actions and those who are not. There is a sense in which we are all responsible for our actions, and another sense in which we are all not responsible. But the legal distinction that some people are responsible whereas some people are mentally ill is utterly misguided and needs to be discarded.

We are all “responsible” for what we do in the sense that we are our minds, and everything we do is a product of our minds. But it is nonsensical to suggest that there is some higher sense in which we are responsible for our minds themselves. We cannot possibly be responsible for what we are. Our minds are a deterministic consequence of our genes and our environment, and this is always true regardless of our mental “competence”.

It is perfectly ethical and reasonable to hold people responsible for their actions - because of the deterrent effect, and because people may simply need to be sequestered or permanently removed from society. But it can never be ethical to punish people solely for retribution, since in a deeper sense nobody is responsible for their own creation and their own nature.

This issue is orthogonal to the question of how severely you should punish people. You can make an ethical argument for the death penalty as a justifiable deterrent, or as a calmly and compassionately applied necessity to permanently remove irreparably broken people from society, just as you might euthanize a violent animal.

But what I will never accept is that can be any justification for the death penalty solely for retribution. It is grotesque and irrational so suggest that anybody deserves to be harmed as a penalty for how they were made.

But if I’m arguing that it is acceptable to administer the death penalty solely for retribution, isn’t that just how I was made?