The death penalty: are you for or against?

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by MASTER_OBI-DAN, Aug 3, 2002.

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  1. MASTER_OBI-DAN Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2002
    star 4
    Yesterday, the Turkish parliament passed a series of democratic reforms designed to facilitate their entry into the European Union. One of those reforms was the abolition in the death penalty. In many countries, the death penalty has been abolished. One notable example where it hasn?t is the United States (some states), where many you, my fellow members of the JC community reside. For those of you, both inside and outside of the US, what is your stand on the death penalty?

    I live in Canada and the death penalty has been abolished for some time. Personally, I do not believe the state should have to power to end one?s life. I feel life is far too precious to be prematurely, no matter the crime. Also, I believe the possibility for mistakes (wrongful convictions) in the judicial system is too prevalent (still) to justify the efficacy of the death penalty. Wrongful executions have and still occur today with irrevocable consequences.

    One request if you?re going to post an opinion: please don?t deride the stand (for or against) of individual JC member on this contentious issue. Read their arguments, ask helpful questions, and offer new viewpoints. Thank you.

    :D
  2. SaberGiiett7 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 2, 2002
    star 6
  3. Dracmus Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 4
  4. stevo Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 14, 2001
    star 4
    There's already a thread on this somewhere in this fourum.
  5. solojones Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 27, 2000
    star 9
    Interesting points you make. You say the state shouldn't have the right to take someone's life, but do people forfeit their rights when they take someone else's life? They don't have the right to take other people's lives in the first place.

    You could say I'm Pro-Death Penalty, but not in every case. I think individual circumstances should be considered when the Death Penalty is sentenced. And, there should be no doubt that the offender is guilty. If you don't have the death penalty, however, that means that people can do whatever they feel like to other people, no matter how horrible, and they won't have to forfeit their lives.

    Also I'd like to add that I'm sure everyone knows that the methods of execution and conditions in Turkish Prisons are a whole lot different than those of the United States.

    -sj loves kevin spacey
  6. MASTER_OBI-DAN Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2002
    star 4
    Those are some good points, solojones! :D

    In terms of alternatives to the death penalty, I'm a strong advocate of 'life imprisonment' in terms of serious crimes such as murder. No matter how small the chances may be, I think the chance at rehabilitation is one that should be offered to all, regardless of the economic costs.

    Your point about the executions in Turkey is one that I don?t have an answer for, as I don?t know what methods are employed (whether they are less humane than those used in the US). I do know that an execution in Turkey has not been carried out in the last 18 months, while in the US is near the top of list in terms of executions per year (close to China, etc.)

    Also in terms of your deterrence argument, I found this just now on the Amnesty International website:

    ?Scientific studies have consistently failed to find convincing evidence that the death penalty deters crime more effectively than other punishments. The most recent survey of research findings on the relation between the death penalty and homicide rates, conducted for the United Nations in 1988 and updated in 1996, concluded: "Research has failed to provide scientific proof that executions have a greater deterrent effect than life imprisonment and such proof is unlikely to be forthcoming. The evidence as a whole still gives no positive support to the deterrent hypothesis...?

    (Reference: Roger Hood, The Death Penalty: A World-wide Perspective, Oxford, Clarendon Press, revised edition, 1996, p. 238, paragraph 328)

    Cheers! :D
  7. Piltdown Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 3, 2002
    star 5
    You take his life, I'll take yours. Yup, that will work just fine.

    Actually, I am for capitol punishment. Depending on the severity of the crime, and the certainty of the conviction, getting rid of scum is great.

    What I am saying is, take that kidnapping that just occurred. The ?napper was shot up and killed, but what if he was not. I don?t care if he didn?t take the lives of the girls, and I don?t want to know what he did do. However, if he is ready and willing to do such a thing, he should be equally ready to die for it. If this person had be taken in, rather than killed in a gunfight, I would be glad to see him be exterminated.

    Life is precious only when it contributes to society as a whole.

    Why should we waste money keeping convicted murderers and rapists alive and well. Fry em, and get on with our lives without them.

    Edit to include info from MASTER_OBI-DAN's post:From the way I see things, if someone is capable of doing such a thing, and carries it out, it is too late. The damage has been done. You cannot change someone who felt that violating someone else?s rights, such as the right to live. If he or she is willing to take a life, or ruin one, they should be willing to accept what comes afterwards.

    Being found guilty due to ?insanity? is different. If someone has not shown the ability to judge right from wrong, perhaps they should be given a chance.



    BLAMMO!!
  8. Ramius Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 8, 2002
    star 3
    I guess I am for it. Life imprisonment is a nice alternative though. I'd rather have someone rot behind bars for the rest of their life, than just kill them. Like Timothy McViegh[sp?] He asked to die, and they killed him. They should have given him life imprisonment. The only thing about that is that it cost alot of money to keep someone in prison. So I don't think the State should have to pay for someone's crimes. It would all depend on the case obviously. If there is less than concrete evidence, then you don't want to give the death penalty in case the person is wrongfully accused(the Green Mile :( )
  9. JediStryker Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2000
    star 4
    No matter how small the chances may be, I think the chance at rehabilitation is one that should be offered to all, regardless of the economic costs.

    That's a pretty easy thing to say when you don't have to deal with the economic costs.

    I am pro-death penalty for the right circumstances. In situations where someone has planned out the murder or the murder was exceptionally cruel, or the murderer has commited the crime more than once, I think that it is an acceptable course of action.

    Punishments do not necessarily have to be deterrents. Sometimes they are simply the consequences of an action. And remember, no punishment is going to be deterrent for many who commit crimes, because they are usually very sure that they are going to get away with it, or they simply don't care.
  10. Piltdown Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 3, 2002
    star 5
    "no punishment is going to be deterrent for many who commit crimes, because they are usually very sure that they are going to get away with it, or they simply don't care. "

    That is very true. I agree 100% that people willing to do such things, normally understand the risk, or don't believe they will be discovered.

    BLAMMO!!
  11. Ramius Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 8, 2002
    star 3
    Hehe, maybe if we had a punishment system like in Starship Troopers. In our society, criminals say, "I'll be back on the street in 24 hours." In ST they say, "I'll be back on the street in 24 hours, but with horrible bruises on my back from getting 5 lashes in public square" :D
  12. Terr_Mys Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2002
    star 6
    Although I'm somewhat conservative, I must say that I am generally against the death penalty.

    This doesn't mean that I'm soft, nor does it mean that I have any remorse for criminals. It simply means that I don't believe that one should have the right to place judgement on another.

    No matter how bad a crime a person commits, even the truly evil ones such as McVeigh and Bin Laden, I would just not feel comfortable deciding their fate. In my opinion, it's up to God. Now, I don't go on anti-death penalty campaigns or anything like that, and I accept the fact that felons are executed. I just can't see how people feel like they have the right to decide who lives, and who dies. Granted, those on death row are guilty of the same thing, but I think they will suffer enough. And killing them is not going to make them suffer any more. It's sad when people need to see a criminal die to feel complete...people just need to accept the fact that there are evil people, and they should be able to be at peace in knowing that the evil ones will be punished.

    Now, I know my beliefs incorporate some religious ideals, but it makes perfect sense to me. It's the same reason why I'm against abortion. People who decide that they have the right to kill other people are guilty of murder themselves. However, only the ones who know what they're doing is an act of evil will be severely punished, but those who do not realize it should take a better look at themselves.
  13. JediStryker Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2000
    star 4
    No matter how bad a crime a person commits, even the truly evil ones such as McVeigh and Bin Laden, I would just not feel comfortable deciding their fate. In my opinion, it's up to God.

    God decides their ultimate fate; He gave us power over their fates on Earth. In the Bible, executions were carried out all the time.
  14. MASTER_OBI-DAN Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2002
    star 4
  15. MASTER_OBI-DAN Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2002
    star 4
    JediStryker, you are referring to the Old Testament. And if we are going to pull the Bible into this discussion thread, please note that Jesus, in the New Testament, said that "he who is without sin may cast the first stone," when referring to those who wanted to stone the adultress.
  16. JediStryker Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2000
    star 4
    OBI-DAN, that was Jesus condemning public executions by everyday people. He never says that government-sponsored executions were wrong or immoral. After all:

    "Where would Christianity be if Jesus got eight to fifteen years with time off for good behavior?" NY State Senator James Donovan

    Paul the Apostle was for capital punishment, even when it might lead to his own death. The Apostle Paul had spent two years in the Roman prison at Caesarea, charged with fomenting insurrection against the Roman authorities and with profaning the Jewish temple at Jerusalem. Paul's case finally was brought for review before the judgment-seat of the Roman governor of Judaea, Porcius Festus. Acts 25:7-11 records:

    The Jews that had come down from Jerusalem stood round about him, bringing against him many and grievous charges which they could not prove; while Paul said in his defense, Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar, have I sinned at all. But Festus, desiring to gain favor with the Jews, answered Paul and said, Wilt thou go up to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these things before me? But Paul said, I am standing before Caesar?s judgment-seat, where I ought to be judged: to the Jews have I done no wrong, as thou also very well knowest. If then I am a wrong-doer, and have committed anything worthy of death, I refuse not to die; but if none of those things is true whereof these accuse me, no man can give me up unto them. I appeal unto Caesar.

    For our present purpose the lesson to be derived from this text is that Paul (who knew more about the Scriptures and more about the morality demanded by the New Covenant than any modern Bible interpreter) does not question the right of the Roman authorities to execute him if he is a wrong-doer who has done anything worthy of death. In his own defense Paul raises no protest against the legality or morality of capital punishment; he merely objects that he is innocent of the charges levelled against him.

    I believe that it is a valid inference from Paul's words to conclude that in his opinion, there were crimes for which the death penalty was appropriate. It is also important to observe that Paul speaks in general terms ( if then I am a wrong-doer, and have committed anything worthy of death). He does not say," if I am a murderer." The implication is that Paul recognized the right of the Roman authorities to execute criminals for crimes other than murder.

    The second New Testament text relevant to the subject of the death penalty is Romans 13:1-7:

    Let every soul be in subjection to the higher powers: for there is no power but of God; and the powers that be are ordained of God. Therefore he that resisteth the power, withstandeth the ordinance of God: and they that withstand shall receive to themselves judgment. For rulers are not a terror to the good work, but to the evil. And wouldest thou have no fear of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise from the same: for he is a minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is a minister of God, an avenger for wrath to him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be in subjection, not only because of the wrath, but also for conscience? sake. For this cause ye pay tribute also; for they are ministers of God?s service, attending continually upon this very thing. Render to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.

    In this text the Apostle Paul describes the posture which the Christian is to have toward the civil authorities. The Christian, as is true of every citizen, is obligated to submit to the governing powers and to conduct his life as a doer of good works. Moreover, the Christian is to live in this manner preeminently for conscience' sake (i.e., out of a sense of religious obligation to God).

    Paul, however, not only describes the posture which the Christian ought to have toward the civil authorities; he also a
  17. Rebecca191 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 1999
    star 6
    I am for the death penalty for murder if the person is without a doubt guilty. If there is some doubt, they should be given life imprisonment.
  18. StarFire Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 31, 2001
    star 4
    I, as an American citizen, have agreed to be subject to American laws. I've agreed that I will live by the standards that myself and my peers have set. Therefore if I commit a crime, I'm answerable to my peers. That's how the system works. Their judgement is completely justifiable.

    What is prison about? Rehabilitation? Revenge?
    What is it about for the guy serving life without hope of parole?

    If a crime is heinous enough that it's punished by life in prison, (and not to sound callous here, but) why does it matter whether he lives or dies?

    If he dies in prison, he dies in prison.
    If he is executed, he dies in prison.

    He still dies.

    The death penalty can send a message that some crimes are completely unacceptable--that some crimes all but beg for the death penalty. It's a moral issue.

    It's also an issue of deterrence. I accept that the death penalty isn't seen as much of a deterrence. I mean, what's there to be afraid of? All people ever see is a picture of a guy on TV, and then they hear that he died gently, through lethal injection.
    That's a far cry from hearing that he was kicking for a full 20 minutes before the noose fully constricted his airway.

    Please don't come away with an image of me being some bloodthirsty villain, 'cause I'm not. ;)

    :)
  19. MASTER_OBI-DAN Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2002
    star 4
    Oh my, JediStryker! :D This is quite a lengthy post. I'll be with you in a second, my friend.
  20. Terr_Mys Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2002
    star 6
    As I said before, I completely accept the laws which govern me and I accept capital punishment. Still, I have personal objections to it. I could go on explaining why, but after a while I would cease making sense and start talking like a wild madman :p.
  21. StarFire Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 31, 2001
    star 4
    Oh, come on. Join the rest of us ;)
  22. JediStryker Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2000
    star 4
    Still, I have personal objections to it. I could go on explaining why, but after a while I would cease making sense and start talking like a wild madman

    I completely understand and accept your personal problems with capital punishment. I was simply countering the idea that religion is against capital punishment. :)
  23. Terr_Mys Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2002
    star 6
    Ah, I see :). And yes, I agree that to some extent, religion is not against capital punishment. Still, however, there are some aspects of the religion that teach otherwise. It's a mixed message, really...kinda like "an eye for an eye" and then, "turn the other cheek". But don't get me wrong, I'm not going on a "NO MOER d3ATHP eNALTY!!!!1111" campaign in the name of God :p. :D
  24. JediStryker Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2000
    star 4
    I don't even think it's really a mixed message if you understand the context of what's being said. But it's not really that big a deal. :)
  25. solojones Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 27, 2000
    star 9
    Terr- I completely understand your point of view. I don't have a strong opinion on the death penalty, except I do think life imprisonment can be extremely costly to the public (not to sound cold, but I'd rather my money go someone else). I believe we aren't to judge people's souls, we don't decide what happens to them after they die, but what about when they are truly evil people who are clear about their motives and are not remorseful? I think these people are a danger in prison, too.

    I know the death penalty doesn't deter really. But for heinous crimes, I still think that in cases where there's no doubt as to the offenders guilt... it's just hard to say we should just feed and clothe them for the rest of their lives.

    I'm not really an advocate of either side. I value human life, and I'm also against abortion. It's more logistical to me than anything. Right now, I don't think there's a good way to put all those people away for life, so we have to settle for what's going to keep our country safest.

    -sj loves kevin spacey
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