Should Executions Be Made Public Again?

Should the death penalty be made public again in the USA? I think, definitely, Yes, and I will tell you why.

Now it is secret, and it is behind closed doors. Few people don’t even realize what is involved. Not just blood and gore (which I hope there is little of, with lethal injections anyways). But the idea of being responsible for another’s death.

And I think Americans are decent, level-headed people. I think if they had to see (what most of them supposedly support anyways) they would be appalled. And capital punishment would be abolished in 10 years. I’m serious.

Oh, I’ve heard the argument, that it would “desensitize” us to it, and all that. But I think that is unlikely, in most cases, and not such a bad idea, in others. When you become desensitized to something, you are dealing with it, instead of suppressing the idea. So even then, I think the outcome would be really a good thing.

But then again, this is Great Debates. And I could be wrong, too. So: What do the rest of you think?

:):):slight_smile:

If we want to end the death penalty let’s just stop killing people. Heck, quite a few states don’t have capital punishment as it is.

Thing is, I don’t think being appalled by execution will be the universal reaction. Some people will actually enjoy watching someone else die, for a variety of reasons. Those people might well lobby to continue the death penalty.

I say this based upon historical and even some current instances of public execution, which seem to have been treated more as public entertainment than anything else.

I’m against the death penalty, but one of the maxims of justice is that justice should be seen to be done. So, if you have the death penalty, yes, it should be done in public.

And yes, executions were a source of public entertainment, but also public education.

America has an extraordinarily violent culture. Look at the entertainment it puts out, even those aimed at children. On this board, supposedly lefty liberal, a lot of people hope that bad guys are raped and killed in prison. Support for the death penalty might go up instead of down.

I may be too cynical, however, since the media tends to not show footage that might shock the conscience into a subversive state. Difference is that tends to be violence directed against sympathetic people like soldiers, women, children, etc., not convicted murderers.

I’d be in favour of making video of the executions available as a matter of public record, but not allowing the public to be physically present. Videos of executions should be subject to FOI requests and available to journalists.

I’m opposed to the death penalty for what its worth, because its more expensive than life in jail and all the evidence shows it doesn’t work as a deterrent. And lastly because sentences in which people have nothing to lose (life without parole and death) cause massive problems in the penal system. You can’t control people that have nothing more to lose.

Georgia’s oldest Death Row inmate, 72, eats a last meal of chicken, rice and turnips before being executed by lethal injection after the Supreme Court denies a last minute appeal
Brandon Astor Jones convicted of killing store manager Roger Tackett
Scheduled to die by lethal injection yesterday but lawyers made a last ditch appeal for mercy on claims sentence was disproportionate to the crime
But Justice Clarence Thomas at the Supreme Court denied final request
Jones, 72, declined a last meal request and simply ate the standard menu
His meal included chicken and rice, rutabagas, seasoned turnip greens, dry white beans, cornbread, bread pudding and fruit punch
He received lethal injection at Jackson state jail at 12.46am on Wednesday
Last person he saw before dying was the man who prosecuted him in 1979

By Thomas Burrows and Hannah Parry

Published: 04:59, 3 February 2016 | Updated: 09:35, 3 February 2016
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3427744/Georgia-set-execute-oldest-death-row-inmate.html#ixzz3z6isHQte
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This was in the paper this morning. He has spent nearly 40 years on death row do you really want to drag him out for a public execution? Yes he committed the crime but after nearly 40 years in prison was justice served by execution or was it a revenge killing
I am against the death penalty as to many mistakes have been made in the past in the U.K. Thankfully we do not have a death sentence and mistakes can be corrected, in one case a man who could never had committed the crime spent 23 years in prison, he was found guilty on false evidence. In Texas there is a man on death row due for execution even though 5 judges have grave doubts about his guilt. should he be dragged out for public execution? I think it is about time America done away with the death sentence and also considered one criminal law for all and not leave it up to individual states. You are supposed to be one country

No. Just end the death penalty.

Why supply violence porn for the sickies?

I agree with the general sentiment above. The penalty itself is an ugly paean to our desire for revenge. It’s retributive, and doesn’t deter others.

Making it public would not, in contrast to the OP’s view, stop it. It would merely make money for some pay-per-view operator until a lawsuit forced free public access.

I’m against the death penalty, but would not want to make it a spectacle. If people were upset about viewing it, that would just lead to making it private again, not eliminating it. At least let the few remaining death row inmates die with dignity instead of turning their deaths into a modern day Colosseum Act.

End the death penalty.

If not, than be a man about it and have the guts to show the gory practical details to the world, including your children and grandchildren in kindergarten.

I’m in favor of the death penalty in principle but not in practice - I don’t have any moral objection to it but in the current US justice system it doesn’t do anything useful and the cases are handled badly so frequently that it becomes a counterproductive mess that reduces confidence in the courts. I think the hand-wringing about ‘OMG we’re responsible for another person’s death’ is absurd - putting someone in prison means ‘OMG we’re responsible for capturing a person and taking away 95% of their life,’ dealing with criminals is just not a pretty business.

I have no idea why the OP thinks that making executions open to the public would turn anyone against the death penalty, however - if someone already things the death penalty is wrong in general or in this specific case, seeing the execution is pointless because they’re already opposed. But if someone thinks it’s right, then they’re just seeing justice done, and seeing the body actually drop is either no worse than seeing someone in an orange jumpsuit walking through the gates to lose 30 years of life or a positive thing since ‘that scumbag can’t hurt anyone now’. For me personally seeing someone like Bundy or Tsarnaev ending would make me feel ‘good, now that’s over’ and wouldn’t change my theoretical opinion, while seeing someone push the button on a semi-literate black guy who couldn’t afford private lawyer wouldn’t make me any more opposed to the practical side.

Really? I didn’t think that was a settled issue. I can list at least half a dozen studies that say that conclude that each execution deters between 3 and 18 murders. I can also list a few criticisms of those studies that say that they are not reliable for a variety of factors but do not present any studies that show that the death penalty has the opposite effect (as some on the anti-death penalty side argue, because state sanctioned murder somehow cheapens life). The biggest problem with the death penalty is the racial bias that is evident in which defendants prosecutors seeks the death penalty (black defendants accused of killing white victims) and consequently a disparity in which death row inmates end up being exonerated (about 40% of death row inmates are black. About 50% of exonerated death row inmates are black. This could be a coincidence but people familiar with the process tell me that the proportion of innocent black men is probably higher than the exonerations indicate).

Or the pay per view event could be used to compensate the families of victims. Publicizing the executions might improve the deterrent effect. OTOH, something like 5% of death row inmates are innocent so …

Really? I didn’t think that was a settled issue. I can list at least half a dozen studies that say that conclude that each execution deters between 3 and 18 murders. I can also list a few criticisms of those studies that say that they are not reliable for a variety of factors but do not present any studies that show that the death penalty has the opposite effect (as some on the anti-death penalty side argue, because state sanctioned murder somehow cheapens life). The biggest problem with the death penalty is the racial bias that is evident in which defendants prosecutors seeks the death penalty (black defendants accused of killing white victims) and consequently a disparity in which death row inmates end up being exonerated (about 40% of death row inmates are black. About 50% of exonerated death row inmates are black. This could be a coincidence but people familiar with the process tell me that the proportion of innocent black men is probably higher than the exonerations indicate).

Or the pay per view event could be used to compensate the families of victims. Publicizing the executions might improve the deterrent effect. OTOH, something like 5% of death row inmates are innocent so …

The moral question is not whether the state should kill one guilty man to prevent the murder of 3-18 victims (assuming that the studies are at least in the right ballpark), that is an easy call. The moral question is whether the state should kill one innocent man to prevent the murder of 60 to 360 victims, especially when the innocent man is much more likely to be members of a particular race and gender. If you could eliminate the racial disparity and get the error rate down to 0% or damn near close to it, I could fully defend the death penalty but we’re not there… yet.
ETA: I don’t know what happened there. I submitted the post halfway through without pushing the submit button (afaict)

An execution is not the same thing as coliseum games.

Wait. What the fuck?!?!:mad:

Would you say the same thing about abortions? Should we show little kids the gory details of abortions too?:dubious:

Its like you are literally wishing bad shit on the children of your ideological opponents because you think that makes your argument stronger of something. Or you just hate them so much that you wish bad shit on their children.

We shield our kids from all sorts of gory shit and for good reason. They are not mentally and emotionally prepared to deal with some of these issues. Apparently some adults aren’t emotionally and mentally prepared either.

If we’re looking for deterrent value, it would be much more effective to have executions done in a timely manner, rather than allowing murderers to string out their appeals for years and even decades.

If somebody is sentenced to death, the execution should be carried out no later than one year after conviction.

I think the average execution takes between 7 to 11 years. At least one study concluded that you deter one additional murder for every 2.7 years you reduce the time between conviction and execution.

That would be my worry; if you’ve ever seen a big boxing match at a bar where one fighter gets the upper hand on the other, you’d be appalled- I can’t think the crowds in the Colosseum in ancient Rome had anything on them for sheer bloodlust and wanting to see someone get hurt.

I figure public executions would be much the same thing- people’d watch them for the thrill and bloodlust aspects.

So far as I am aware, each study that does this has counted all homicides, as opposed to just those homicides in which a conviction could result in the death penalty – this seems like a flawed approach.

I welcome correction on the point.

I do not argue that it has the opposite effect, although I agree it cheapens life.

I have to disagree here. Executions are always publicized and always attended by members of the public, and there are frequently crowds of protestors outside. They’re secret to the same extent elementary school classes are secret; not everyone can walk in off the street and watch them.

The death penalty is consistently popular, polling well even in countries that have eliminated it. I think televised executions would electrify the public and would be a shot in the arm to death penalty advocates.