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BS: Capital Punishment?

Peace 26 Dec 03 - 03:10 PM
McGrath of Harlow 23 Dec 03 - 07:34 PM
EBarnacle 23 Dec 03 - 07:09 PM
Bobert 23 Dec 03 - 06:50 PM
Peace 23 Dec 03 - 05:32 PM
GUEST,Ed 23 Dec 03 - 05:28 PM
Bobert 23 Dec 03 - 05:18 PM
McGrath of Harlow 23 Dec 03 - 01:27 PM
Dave the Gnome 23 Dec 03 - 01:08 PM
Ringer 23 Dec 03 - 10:09 AM
Nigel Parsons 23 Dec 03 - 07:56 AM
Dave the Gnome 23 Dec 03 - 05:10 AM
McGrath of Harlow 22 Dec 03 - 09:10 PM
Peace 22 Dec 03 - 08:54 PM
McGrath of Harlow 22 Dec 03 - 08:14 PM
Peace 22 Dec 03 - 08:04 PM
Gareth 22 Dec 03 - 08:00 PM
Peace 22 Dec 03 - 07:59 PM
GUEST,Ponderin' 22 Dec 03 - 07:32 PM
Two_bears 22 Dec 03 - 07:12 PM
Peace 22 Dec 03 - 07:10 PM
Two_bears 22 Dec 03 - 07:09 PM
Two_bears 22 Dec 03 - 07:03 PM
Peace 22 Dec 03 - 06:57 PM
Two_bears 22 Dec 03 - 06:49 PM
Two_bears 22 Dec 03 - 06:31 PM
McGrath of Harlow 22 Dec 03 - 06:26 PM
Peace 22 Dec 03 - 05:04 PM
McGrath of Harlow 22 Dec 03 - 02:22 PM
GUEST,Frank 22 Dec 03 - 01:38 PM
Beardy 22 Dec 03 - 07:48 AM
McGrath of Harlow 21 Dec 03 - 08:58 PM
ddw 21 Dec 03 - 06:10 PM
McGrath of Harlow 21 Dec 03 - 05:55 PM
Dave the Gnome 21 Dec 03 - 04:33 PM
ddw 21 Dec 03 - 02:36 PM
Peace 21 Dec 03 - 02:32 PM
Dave the Gnome 21 Dec 03 - 02:17 PM
McGrath of Harlow 21 Dec 03 - 01:54 PM
Peace 21 Dec 03 - 01:46 PM
Dave the Gnome 21 Dec 03 - 01:34 PM
ddw 21 Dec 03 - 12:45 PM
Hrothgar 21 Dec 03 - 02:05 AM
ddw 20 Dec 03 - 10:15 PM
Dave the Gnome 20 Dec 03 - 07:38 PM
Gareth 20 Dec 03 - 07:29 PM
Amos 20 Dec 03 - 07:21 PM
McGrath of Harlow 20 Dec 03 - 06:47 PM
Dave the Gnome 20 Dec 03 - 06:46 PM
Cruiser 20 Dec 03 - 06:32 PM

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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Peace
Date: 26 Dec 03 - 03:10 PM

I am finding myself in agreement with McG of H. We can put whatever spin we want on the 'one person's terrorist is another person's freedom fighter', but when ya boil it down, it's pretty much the same thing--forget the semantic games. A bullet in the chest really doesn't care who fired it or why. And a dead person doesn't have the luxury of debating the politics or rightness of the situation.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Dec 03 - 07:34 PM

But waging a guerrilla war doesn't necessarily involve terrorism, defined as intentionally killing non-combatant civilians to change the way they behave and think. For example ambushing military units and so forth isn't in itself terrorism, however much the press offices might try to paint it as such.

In a situation where the aim is to "win hearts and minds" terrorism doesn't make much sense for either side. Of course typically that doesn't stop it happening from both sides.

And the fact that the killing by either sides may not be "terrorism", in that sense, doesn't make it any less horrible, or mean that it is justified.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: EBarnacle
Date: 23 Dec 03 - 07:09 PM

McGrath, you might enjoy the new book about Jefferson and the way the slavery issue shaped the Constitution of the US.

re: the statement that what the Nazis did was illegal. Not so, unfortunately! It was all legal under the then current German law.

ddw, the difference between war and terrorism depends on which side you are on. If you are part of a small group [or country] opposed to a major power, would you stand up on the field of battle and make everyone feel better that you had been wiped out the honorable way or would you go underground and become an irregular, waging a guerilla war? One of the advantages of the second method is that you can make it too expensive for the larger power to maintain its activities. The issue becomes more difficult when a non-national group [can be as few as one person] decides that it is at war with a nation.

There was a novel written by Phil Bolger in which it was illegal to imprison people as being destructive to the soul of both the prisoner and the imprisoned. After 24 hours, the accused had to be either freed or executed.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Bobert
Date: 23 Dec 03 - 06:50 PM

Ahhhh, perhaps a side bar, but a Virgina jury has jusy chozen against the death penalty aginst convicted sniper, Lee Malvo. And this sentence from the otherwise blood thirsty Virginians. Go figure?...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Peace
Date: 23 Dec 03 - 05:32 PM

If killing wasn't a good thing in the first place, what's gonna make it a good thing in the second place?


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 23 Dec 03 - 05:28 PM

Dave,

I think that this is the piece that you are referring too: God Angrily Clarifies "Don't Kill" Rule

Ed


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Bobert
Date: 23 Dec 03 - 05:18 PM

Yo, Two Bears:

You say that you could accept a "life sentence" if it was indeed a life sentence. Well, that's major progress from yer initial stance that you'd be glad to assist in the execution. Hang around an maybe we'll get you to drop the phrase "bleeding heart", which is just a PR buzz phrase for the right wing and means, absolutely nuthing...

Aww, jus' messin' with you... You jus' keep lobbin' those worn out phrases around an' oif ya run low, PM yer pal, Doug..

Peace,

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Dec 03 - 01:27 PM

The question is, what's "punishment" for, over and above trying to change the person for the better? Does it really achieve anything good for anyone else? Clearly a lot of people think it does. I think it's probably the other way round. Makes things worse in the end.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 23 Dec 03 - 01:08 PM

I suppose someone will explain to me that in the original script it did not realy mean that...

Thanks, Nigel. I knew someone would;-)

Thanks for enlightening us and then explaining that quotes from the bible do not help. Does that include anything about Abraham, Jesus, God of Sabaoth, Sacrificial goats or turning the other cheek by any chance?

On reflection, Ringer, and on re-reading the thread I think you are right! I think there may be some significance in that but it escapes me.

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Ringer
Date: 23 Dec 03 - 10:09 AM

Dave the Gnome: "I guess it's all been said now and I am still unconvinced that the death penalty is either a deterent or a fair punishment." I don't think there's been much discussion within this thread of whether or not it's a fair (or, as I prefer, a just) punishment, has there?


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 23 Dec 03 - 07:56 AM

DtG: yes, the Old Testament does make it simple. The commandment says "Thou shalt not kill". This also applies to the original murderer.
Once the original killing has taken place then there needs to be some form of retribution, or some protection for society to prevent the same person re-offending. It is not until the appearance of Jesus in the New Testament that we see the idea of 'turning the other cheek'. In Old Testament times the simplistic notion was "an eye for an eye", or "a life for a life"
Don't forget, you're quoting the 'God of Sabbaoth' (the Lord of Hosts, or armies). This is a god who asked Abraham to sacrifice his only son, and only provided a 'sacrificial goat' as a replacement at the last moment.
Even in the New Testament, God allows His Son to be 'put to death', even after a prayer from Jesus that he be excused this fate.

I don't really think quoting the Bible is going to help either side of the argument.

CHEERS

Nigel


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 23 Dec 03 - 05:10 AM

Right. I'm back! Anyone miss me?

I guess it's all been said now and I am still unconvinced that the death penalty is either a deterent or a fair punishment. I suppose I never will be.

I remember seeing a thread here about a letter from God. Anyone remember it? I'm not a God botherer myself but I found it quite amusing in that God was explaining his (or her!) commandment, 'Thou shalt not kill', to all the people who treat the old testament as a holy book. That includes, in alphabetic order so don't take offense ;-), Christians, Jews and Muslims. He went on to say how simple could he get. Four small words and no room for interpretation.

Death sentence aside it is funny how so many followers of all these faiths like to add their own little qualifiers to the end of that one isn't it:-) I suppose someone will explain to me that in the original script it did not realy mean that...

I don't thik I have any more to add apart from a little quip that someone may like to use. My good friends and Swinton folk club residents, Dave and Ged, liked to introduce 'Sam Hall' by explaining that the judiciary at the time, being very enlightened, gave Sam a suspended sentence.



They hung him...

Cheers, greetings for whatever midwinter festival you care to choose and peace to one and all.

DtG


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 22 Dec 03 - 09:10 PM

There are times and circumstances when, for most of us anyway physical violence seems it cannot be avoided. But there should never be times when it has to spill over into the mental violence of hate - though that's pretty difficult, in our saner moments we most of know that giving in to that is to take in a kind of poison.

Here's a quote I really like, and it's not from Gandhi, it's from an Italian writer Giovanni Guareschi, who wrote the Don Camillo stories, and it's about being caught up in the last war as a soldier (except of course it wasn't "the last war"):

"I had no more influence [on the War] than a nutshell tossed about on the ocean, and I emerged without ribbons or medals on my chest. I emerged as a victor, however, because I came through the cataclysm without hatred in my soul..."

I came across this quote in the course of chasing up a song he wrote in a thread up the music end of the Mudcat - and making an Englished version of it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Peace
Date: 22 Dec 03 - 08:54 PM

McG H: Thanks for letting me off so easy, there.

I admire Gandhi and King. Maybe in the long run their way is best. And I see what you mean with the difference between passivity and non-violence. And if the Nazi Party had practised the same principles . . . . I see the problem as one of getting all the players to play by the same rules. And truthfully, I can't tell you what my reaction would be to losing someone I love to a drunk driver. Or what my response would be to having someone I care for shot or stabbed. I'd like to think I could forgive, but in my heart of hearts, I don't know if I would be able to.

I admire the position of people who advocate and practise non-violence. However, I don't think it is a realistic or 'workable' position in all circumstances.

Last, thank you for letting me off so graciously. I can be a real ass at times. BM


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 22 Dec 03 - 08:14 PM

It wasn't particularly your spelling of Gandhi I was correcting, brucie. That was the second post in the thread spelt it that way, and I'm pretty sure I've seen it a couple of times here in the last few days. All from different people - it seems to get spelt that way more often than not. (Looking for a Gandhi quote on the net, I came across this: "The Quotes from Ghandi... has been changed to Quotes from Gandhi")

If I'd just written "Gandhi" without any comment it would be as likely have been read as a typo on my part, and I make quite a lot of those.

Your correction to my grammar was quite right, and no apology us called for.

And here is that Gandhi quote: "It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence."


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Peace
Date: 22 Dec 03 - 08:04 PM

Gareth,

If such a law were to be enacted, I would like a few weeks notice. Gonna be lots of increase in coffin sales. There is the potential to make a fortune in the stock market.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Gareth
Date: 22 Dec 03 - 08:00 PM

Hmmm ! Just to throw another brick into the pond of debate -

The late Herbert Morrison (Lord Morrison of Lambeth) served as the UK Home secretary under both Churchill (1940 -45) and Atlee (1945- 1950).

This included the wartime years when the Defence of the Realm Act applied, and peace time conditions.

In 1940-45 this included internment powers, the notorious regulation 17B, and the Use of Military justice, subject to final appeal to the Crown, (advised by the Home Secretary) - (OK the "Visting Powers Act" precluded his intervention in US of A Court Marshalls)

After the 1945 General Election DORA expired. Normall civil law applied.

In his later years Morrison was asked for his view on Capital Punishment.

His attitude was simple _

"If I had to retain Capital Punishment - I would retain it for one offence only - Corruption in public Life"

Discuss !!!!!!!!!!!!

Gareth


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Peace
Date: 22 Dec 03 - 07:59 PM

Yeah, "Sorry 'bout that" or "Oops" don't seem to cut it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: GUEST,Ponderin'
Date: 22 Dec 03 - 07:32 PM

Two Bears..as you volunteered to be a would be executioner, I asked you what words of comfort you could offer to the family, had you executed somebody who was later pardoned.

You had none to offer, which probably makes you ideal for the job.

Not only do you feel you have the right to take a life, but you could do so without any remorse? Scary.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Two_bears
Date: 22 Dec 03 - 07:12 PM

> and of course, it is not true that we should never kill. These are
> decisions with serious consequences - but decsions none-the-less
> that many of us have to make in our lifetime.


We kill every day of our lifes. The animals we eat the meat of, the vegetables we eat has to be killed, then our imune system kills millions of viruses and germs EVERY day.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Peace
Date: 22 Dec 03 - 07:10 PM

McG of H: Sorry about that. It was uncalled for on my part. I hope you accept the apology.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Two_bears
Date: 22 Dec 03 - 07:09 PM

> The USA took quite a long time to catch up when it came to slavery
> too...

Well slavery is still happening. In Sudan for one example, and trhen there is the slavery where pretty girls are taken to the mid east and asia, and are forced into slavery to work as prostitutes.

Slavery is STILL happening every day.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Two_bears
Date: 22 Dec 03 - 07:03 PM

> The purpose for the death penalty is retribution. An eye for an eye.
> Incarceration for life is to keep the felon from harming society.

You may believe whatever you like.

these cold blooded murderers convince psychiatrists and judges they they are a changed person and incapable of commiting similat crimes quite often, and they are released to prey on society again.

Need I remind you of John Hinkley Jr. that shot president Ronald Reagan, and Mr. Brady? Mr. Brady uas been in a wheelchair ever since.

Last week the judge decided to allow this man that tried to assassinate the president of the U.S. to impress Jodie Foster yo leave the grounds of the facility (he has been kept at for 20 years) unsupervized to visit his parents.

His parents are in their 80s and they are not able to stop him if he starts causing problems.

Two years ago; the psychiatrists said he was as dangerous then as he ever was. What happened somce then?


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Peace
Date: 22 Dec 03 - 06:57 PM

McG of H,

Thanks for correcting my spelling. However, you haven't changed my mind. You may dress the thing up as you choose, play the game with words, but the simple fact remains: Gandhi (see!) would not have defeated Hitler; that is, his methods would not have worked.

And while I'm at it, you might care to address the grammar problem that follows the comma. It will require a subject and a verb I think.

"The effect of passivity on people engaged in violence is likely to make them feel justified in their violence, and contempt towards those who submit to it without a struggle as cowards."

I don't make a habit of correcting people's writing, but given the tone you used to point out my spelling error, I thought you would understand why I chose to make an exception.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Two_bears
Date: 22 Dec 03 - 06:49 PM

> While I am in agreement with you on you observations of many
> *supposed" Christians, you don't speak for all. Yes, many are do
> worship the religion about Jesus but many of us worship the
> religion *of* Jesus. I consider myself to fall in that latter

Of course; I do not speak for "christianity". I can only speak to the parts of "christianity" I have seen.

> There can be no "justice" in lethal injection of a killer on the
> soul of the one who has been killed. It's too late for restitution
> between these two people. Sure, it may bring some comfort level to

Of course there is justice in capita; punishment.

1. It brings closure to the family of the victim(s)

2. It guarantees that the person will not be allowed to murder other people in a like manner.

3. It protects society from evil predators.

the families but this is not justice. It's revenge.

> not mean to forget and that's where things like *life
> inprisionment* enters into the equation. I can forgive a murderer
> but that doesn't mean I want him or her to be free to do it again.

If life inprisonment was real life imprisonment; I would agree with you. but that is not the way things always happen. a bleeding heart judge lets them go to leave MORE victims in their wake.

I would like for the scientists to discover a way of putting these people in suspended animation where civilized society would not have to pay for people to guard them, and as new treatments that can cure them are developed; re-animate them and heal them so they can be a productive member of society/

Evil is what happens when good people do nothing to stop evil.

> And, lastly, if the US is going to thump its chest as a Chrisian
> nation, it needs to purge many of the churches that have become

I'm not "christian" I'm a devout pagan. but I understand that evil must be confronted.

> A good place to start would be for it to accept "sanctitiy of life"
> with no fine print.

I fully accept the sanctity of life. I catch insects and release them outside unharmed. but of a person has committed a heinous manner, and has proved that they can not live in a civilized society; they should be killed in order to protect society from them.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Two_bears
Date: 22 Dec 03 - 06:31 PM

> As the giver of the lethal injection, what words of comfort would
> you offer to their family if they are posthumously pardoned?

I would tell them the truth.

The person was found guilty of the murder by judge and Jury, and the person had his appeals, and it was my job to give the injection.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 22 Dec 03 - 06:26 PM

Gandhi - spelt that way please - didn't believe in "passivity" either. Non-violent resistance is anything but passive.

"Passivity" doesn't challenge violence, it seems to collude in it. The effect of passivity on people engaged in violence is likely to make them feel justified in their violence, and contempt towards those who submit to it without a struggle as cowards. People who resist with all their strength, but refuse to kill, can't be seen as cowards, though they can be seen as crazy.

In any struggle there is a high chance of getting killed, and that's every bit as true of non-violence, as Gandhi recognised, and exemplified. Whether it would work in all circumstances is questionable, but part of that is because to have a good chance of working it needs to be adopted at a far earlier stage than people imagine, while there is still a possibility of reminding people of what they share across the differences.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Peace
Date: 22 Dec 03 - 05:04 PM

Frank: In general, I agree with you. Wars are bad things--and I don't mean that as sarcasm. But there are just wars. Ghandi's tactics--some of which I practised at demonstrations in the sixties and seventies--would not have worked with Hitler. If present day Israel did not have the means to protect itself, there is no doubt that they would have been slaughtered by now. The Turkish massacre of the Armenians is a case in point. I do understand that 'for instance is not proof'; however, there have been too many times in the dark history of our world when passivity has not worked. I wish it did. It would be a much nicer planet to live on. Shalom.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 22 Dec 03 - 02:22 PM

Firstly there is the misconception that there is no capital punishment in Britain; there is. You can still be hung for treason, piracy on the high seas and a couple of other obscure indiscretions.

Not actually true, Beardy. Protocol 13 of the European Convention on Human Rights specifuically excludes the Death Penalty in all circumstances. "No derogation or reservation will be allowed to Protocol No. 13 to the European Convention on Human Rights" - which means once a country has signed it, it can't back out. And the United Kingdom, along with all other members of the EU, have signed it.

Any laws on the statute books, about piracy and arson in a royal dockyard and so forth, which may not actually have been repealed, no longer have any force whatsoever.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: GUEST,Frank
Date: 22 Dec 03 - 01:38 PM

ddw,

"Maybe you could enlighten me on this: "Recidivism has no meaning if the death penalty becomes a solution rather than a transforming experience for the killer." I have no idea what you're saying.."...

If a person goes back into prison after committing a terrible
crime such as murder, there is still a chance that life in
prison could mean something for that person and for society.
If that person is murdered in retribution by capital punishment, than there is no chance for this kind of transformation to happen.

In my view, retribution (capital punishment)doesn't serve society at all. It encourages a notion that killing solves something. It doesn't. It doesn't stop the process and never has. If anything, it exacerbates more killing and feuds that last over time.

I don't agree that the death penalty has stopped killing and may well encourage it.

Brucie, I don't believe that killing is ever right in war or on an individual level. The idea of a "just war" is repugnant to me.
War can never be just because the innocent are killed as well
as the guilty.

Some say it is necessary but I believe that non-violent resistance
works when it is consistenly employed. There are few examples
of this but notably Ghandi in India and King in the US.

The evidence for this is scant because the easier solution is to
go to war acting on the emotion of anger and revenge. Non-violent resistance requires a moral discipline checking raw and baser emotions. It requires as much as intensive
military training if not more and an equal if not more
amount of courage to pursue.

Killing for punishment does not lessen killing in general.
It celebrates it and encourages it in society. Life imprisonment however is a harder punishment (if punishment ever changes
anything) but it keeps the door open for a transformation of
character and behavior. That changes something.

Frank


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Beardy
Date: 22 Dec 03 - 07:48 AM

Before making some points I think it would be great if jOhn came back and answered his own questions.

Firstly there is the misconception that there is no capital punishment in Britain; there is. You can still be hung for treason, piracy on the high seas and a couple of other obscure indiscretions.

Mooman brought up the issue of forensic science and its interpretation and how its presented and the stresses made on certain points. In Britain in the last few months we have had 3 women released after appeals from their life sentences for killing their own children which they said was due to cot death. In each case the 'expert', Prof Roy Meadows, gave evidence that it was a 73 million to one chance that there could be mutiple cot deaths in one family. This evidence has been discredited and many cases he gave evidence in are now being re-opened. All 3 women would have been in danger of receiving death sentences if it was on the statute.

ddw keeps on about Hitler. He was elected by the German public and although he attained power through some dubious politiking the majority of people followed him and supported the decisions he made. As regard receiving the death penalty even at the end of the war and with Germany in defeat I don't believe that in a German court with a German jury he would have been given this punishment. The parallels with Saddam & Iraq are not accurate as Saddam had his country in total fear of him.

The question of confessions has to be given close scrutiny. In this country there have been numerous cases of miscarriage of justice due to false confessions. For instance Stefan Kiszko would have been executed following his 'confession'. It took 16 years for him to be released on appeal following a review of the forensic evidence and evidence that his 'confesssion' had been obtained by telling him that if he admitted the crime he could go home to his mother (he had learning difficulties and a mental age below the norm).

Blackcatter confused me. His first 3 points appeared to reject capital punishment yet he is pleased the US in the elite? IMO that should read "wrong".

Finally ddw wrote "even the most apparently stable political structures can come tumbling down pretty quickly when one unscrupulous leader wants to whip up and exploit age-old animosities"; well I can only assume he is referring to the Bush dynasty.

Personnally I could never live in a society which advoctes such a policy. One error would negate any perceived justification. There are regularly polls reporting the attitude of the public to capital punishment but I have never been asked and neither has anybody I know. In addition should there be a phone-in to TV or radio the advocates will always make their view known but the "liberals" such as myself tend not to bother. Should it ever come to a referendum however a different perspective would activate the anti-capitalists.


Stwart


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 21 Dec 03 - 08:58 PM

"the pilots, presumably, would not bomb the civilian populations of nations with whom there is no war."

When was the last time the USA declared war before sending in the bombers? Or just about anyone else for that matter.

And it's not just a matter of there now being a convention now that wars are started without any declaration - now it appears a faitly routine procedure to carry out air-raids at a time when there is no suggestion that a state of war exists between the bombers and the targetted nation. For example in Iraq, Sudan, Libya.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: ddw
Date: 21 Dec 03 - 06:10 PM

DtG -- Not quite the same thing, is it? War on a battlefield is a bit different from a car bomb in London where there is no military advantage to be gained, where the only "combatants" killed are people going about their daily lives with no idea they're combatants till they're killed or maimed.

Good point about the bomber pilots. Maybe lumping military in the definition is a mistake. At least the pilots, presumably, would not bomb the civilian populations of nations with whom there is no war. (Yeah, I know. Nixon bombed Cambodia; I was and still am appalled by that. Didn't believe the domino theory of the day, so I was opposed to the war in Vietnam. I considered it asshole politicians — read Kennedy and Johnson — sticking their noses into something the didn't understand for reasons that didn't hold water.) I was in the military at the time (USAF, 1961-1966) and I just didn't believe the lines we were being fed. Even had some trouble over it, especially since I had a sign in my room that said "Stamp out witchhunts — abolish the HUAC" and, horror of horrors, a subscription to Sing Out magazine.

cheers,

david


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 21 Dec 03 - 05:55 PM

MAD? Obviously threatening to kill millions of people by measn of Weapons of Mass Destruction was and is a threat of carrying out terrorism on a mass scale.

The point I was making is that "one man's terrorist is another sides freedom fighter" is a fallacy, becuase it implies that all the things "freedom fighters" do fall into the definition of terrorism, and that the things the people they are fighting against don't. To use an example that isn't particularly contentious, it is beyond question that the apartheid South African government went in for terrorism.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 21 Dec 03 - 04:33 PM

A terrorist is someone in any kind of organisation - underground, overground, paramilitary, military, commercial, religious - who deliberately kills civilians for political ends.

Just struck me. Doesn't that defomition include any bomber pilot?

Just a thought...

And as to (Refering to Wallace) he was justified in waging war. After what the English did to the Irish how come McGee isn't accorded the same luxury?

Cheers

DtG
(Sorry - off to bed in a bit and possibly away for a day or two. I will get back on any other points ASAP.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: ddw
Date: 21 Dec 03 - 02:36 PM

Thanks, McGrath — almost exactly what I was about to write.

Paul Revere, to my knowledge, never engaged in terrorism. Mandela, although he engaged in treason by plotting to overthrow the government, did not engage in terrorism. I think I probably would have argued for life imprisonment for him, simply to avoid making a martyr out of him. If he had actually commited murder in the pursuit of his pollitical goals, yeah, I'd have killed him.

And I don't know a lot about William Wallace (except that some screenwriter made his story into one of the silliest pieces of Hollywood drivel I can remember — almost on a par with Titanic) but after what Edward I (the Hammer of the Scots) did to Wallace's tribe he was justified in waging war. Again, not terrorism, in my estimation.

I find it really bizarre that some in this thread are arguing against capital punishment from the standpoints of "possibilities" or "hindsight." If we were able to predict what a person would be a few years after the fact, it would give any well-intentioned person or anyone with enough money to buy social approval license to kill at least once or twice. They could always point to the fact that in a few years they would be setting up orphanages and all kinds of philanthropic trusts and nobody would want to punish him too much. If we could have predicted Hitler, I think somebody would have killed him early on, don't you?

As for arguing from hindsight — the Patrick McGee example springs to mind — there was nothing at the time to indicate he was anything more than a political thug and he still doesn't seem to be doing enough to atone for his crimes, in my estimation. I don't think he ever could.
But that aside, as Marx pointed out, we can only know the future from the past. At the time of his conviction, McGee's past indicated he was one nasty piece of work. I see no reason, from that point in time, to spare his life. He might have been martyred, but the IRA already has enough of those so he wouldn't have been much of a big deal.

cheers,

david


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Peace
Date: 21 Dec 03 - 02:32 PM

Civilians are not a protected species in warfare. In fact, they are the ones who send the soldiers (in democracies, anyway). The notion that civilians won't be killed is a wrong one. Obviously, they will. From the view of a terrorist, I would imagine it's much easier to target civilians than soldiers. MAD was based on the targetting of the whole Earth's population, not just military targets. The ultimate terror, I suppose.

I don't think it's right; I just think it is.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 21 Dec 03 - 02:17 PM

I am pretty sure all the above were guilty of the crimes you mention, Kevin. I do not know them personaly but the historical facts seem to support that argument don't they?

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 21 Dec 03 - 01:54 PM

Once again - a terrorist isn't someone who happens to be in an underground army.

A terrorist is someone in any kind of organisation - underground, overground, paramilitary, military, commercial, religious - who deliberately kills civilians for political ends.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Peace
Date: 21 Dec 03 - 01:46 PM

Killing itself is not 'wrong'. Some wars are justified and some aren't. War is just murder undisguised, but nations and states give the authority to individuals and send them forth to do the job. A person attcks you and you kill that person in the defense of your own life, basically, tough shit. Society has the authority under law to enforce that proxy decision. The problem with capital punishment is having the 100% assurance that we--the society--are killing the right person. There's the rub.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 21 Dec 03 - 01:34 PM

Thanks, David. So you would have also killed Paul Revere? Nelson Mandella? William Wallace? All notable terrorists of their day. Or were they freedom fighters?

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: ddw
Date: 21 Dec 03 - 12:45 PM

Never seems to have been a problem in the past, Hrothgar. Some societies let the families of the victims do it, others just hire somebody looking for an honest day's wages. But there has never been a problem findiing one human being willing to kill another human being.

cheers,

david


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Hrothgar
Date: 21 Dec 03 - 02:05 AM

As a cynic, I'm inclined to think that the best way to prove somebody is guilty is to hang him. This seems to be especially so in cases with a political element.

I still can't see that we make any progress by killing people.

My greatest problem with the death penalty, however, is the selection of the executioner. To whom do you give the right to take a human life?

Peace.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: ddw
Date: 20 Dec 03 - 10:15 PM

DtG — OK, I just went into the net and read a bit about McGee. Yes, absolutely, I would have killed him. His was a clear act or terrorism and treason which cost the lives of five people who were not combatants in the "war" he had going on in his head.
In the interview he did with BBC he said something to the effect of "if you look at the situation you'll see that we had no other avenues open to us but violence."

Bullshit! You say he was released because of changing attitudes. Did they change to say terror and treason are OK now? I don't think so. From what I saw, he was released as a sop to the IRA to try to get them to stop their thuggery. I doubt it'll work, but apparently nobody learned much from Neville Chamberlain and his appeasement policies.

Cheers,

david


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 20 Dec 03 - 07:38 PM

Gareth - :-)

Marvelous story and good illustration of why the death sebntnce is wrong!

Mind you, if he was Welsh I am not so sure...;-)

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Gareth
Date: 20 Dec 03 - 07:29 PM

About 30 years ago, I was in a pub in Sarf London, it was a leftish sort of reunion.

One of the "boozers" of honour was an old retired "Vickers" engineer, who had been one of those accused of sabotage in a "show Trial" over the sabotage of a USSR Hydro-electric scheme.

He had confessed, after presure, to putting nuts and bolts into a turbine. And was duely sentanced to death, commuted to life in Siberia, and released (British Citezen and Passport !!!)

His story on the "confession" was intersting - Basically of course he signed it, no arguments, on the grounds that it was so technically impossible that no fair court would have acepted it. - Like putting half inch (13 millimeter)debrise into the stream, up straem of the grids, filters and nozzels.

But for all that, still a "lefty".

Gareth


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Amos
Date: 20 Dec 03 - 07:21 PM

I have never authorized anyone to make a decision about my life or death (other than my wife). Obviously I can be forced into the mores of the society, but I don't feel comfortable being handed that power over another person who in turn has not voluntarily surrendered it. The argument that certain acts against the group "automatically" yield ones mortality up to the group's justice is sometimes factual but that doesn't make it ethical.

For one thing, if a society is calling itself Christian, it is expected to be able to practice forgiveness, knowing that the full understanding of a sin -- even a bad sin -- is vested in the Almighty, not in the individual. But totally aside from Christianity, how does a group ever rise up above the tribal law of vengeance and bloody cycles of feud going on indefinitely, if it cannot call a halt by the practice of forgiveness ? Or at least, walking away from the eye for an eye mind set? There's no "truth" in the "A justifies B" proposition -- it is merely a cultural opinion that makes life harder than it needs to be.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 20 Dec 03 - 06:47 PM

"...confessions" ?   Any number of people have confessed or "confessed" to thimngs they couldn't possibly have done. A confession is a kind of evidence, but it in't conclusive evidence in itself.

Highlight of the old Soviet show-trials was always the "confession".

The main argument against the Death Penalty is what it does to the society which goes in for it. It's a kind of addiction, and as in other addictions, addicts tend to deny it is damaging them.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 20 Dec 03 - 06:46 PM

Quite simple, ddw. All the evidence is there for your perusal. Would your judicial system kill Patrick Magee?

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Cruiser
Date: 20 Dec 03 - 06:32 PM

Hang 'em High 'o
Hang 'em Low
Just Hang 'em
So he ain't no mo'

Three strikes (serious felonious crimes against society, especially children) and you should be out OF (not for) life.


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