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BS: Capital Punishment?

Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 17 Dec 03 - 10:16 PM
Little Hawk 17 Dec 03 - 11:42 PM
ddw 18 Dec 03 - 02:30 AM
GUEST,guest from NW 18 Dec 03 - 03:11 AM
alanabit 18 Dec 03 - 03:40 AM
Nigel Parsons 18 Dec 03 - 04:43 AM
Wilfried Schaum 18 Dec 03 - 04:50 AM
Dave the Gnome 18 Dec 03 - 05:13 AM
mooman 18 Dec 03 - 06:09 AM
Ethereal Purple 18 Dec 03 - 07:09 AM
DMcG 18 Dec 03 - 07:30 AM
DMcG 18 Dec 03 - 07:52 AM
GUEST,Strollin' Johnny 18 Dec 03 - 08:05 AM
The Fooles Troupe 18 Dec 03 - 08:16 AM
ddw 18 Dec 03 - 09:56 AM
Dave the Gnome 18 Dec 03 - 10:12 AM
mack/misophist 18 Dec 03 - 10:37 AM
Raptor 18 Dec 03 - 10:46 AM
Beverley Barton 18 Dec 03 - 10:54 AM
ddw 18 Dec 03 - 12:10 PM
Gareth 18 Dec 03 - 12:55 PM
McGrath of Harlow 18 Dec 03 - 01:03 PM
Blackcatter 18 Dec 03 - 01:05 PM
Dave the Gnome 18 Dec 03 - 01:11 PM
Dave the Gnome 18 Dec 03 - 01:16 PM
GUEST,Possible juror. 18 Dec 03 - 01:29 PM
Bobert 18 Dec 03 - 02:04 PM
Wolfgang 18 Dec 03 - 02:07 PM
ddw 18 Dec 03 - 04:27 PM
Don Firth 18 Dec 03 - 06:34 PM
McGrath of Harlow 18 Dec 03 - 06:50 PM
Raedwulf 18 Dec 03 - 07:14 PM
McGrath of Harlow 18 Dec 03 - 07:20 PM
ddw 18 Dec 03 - 08:11 PM
Blackcatter 18 Dec 03 - 08:56 PM
ddw 18 Dec 03 - 11:41 PM
Peace 18 Dec 03 - 11:52 PM
Dave the Gnome 19 Dec 03 - 07:12 AM
ddw 19 Dec 03 - 10:17 AM
Partridge 19 Dec 03 - 10:21 AM
ddw 19 Dec 03 - 10:41 AM
Partridge 19 Dec 03 - 10:50 AM
GUEST,Strollin' Johnny 19 Dec 03 - 11:06 AM
ddw 19 Dec 03 - 11:09 AM
ddw 19 Dec 03 - 11:11 AM
EBarnacle 19 Dec 03 - 11:12 AM
GUEST 19 Dec 03 - 11:37 AM
ddw 19 Dec 03 - 11:38 AM
GUEST,Strollin' Johnny 19 Dec 03 - 12:24 PM
ddw 19 Dec 03 - 12:39 PM
GUEST,guest from NW 19 Dec 03 - 12:46 PM
Uncle_DaveO 19 Dec 03 - 01:16 PM
Dave the Gnome 19 Dec 03 - 01:34 PM
Ebbie 19 Dec 03 - 03:32 PM
ddw 19 Dec 03 - 04:28 PM
Dave the Gnome 19 Dec 03 - 04:57 PM
ddw 19 Dec 03 - 05:19 PM
McGrath of Harlow 19 Dec 03 - 05:47 PM
DMcG 19 Dec 03 - 06:50 PM
DMcG 19 Dec 03 - 06:58 PM
McGrath of Harlow 19 Dec 03 - 06:58 PM
ddw 19 Dec 03 - 08:45 PM
GUEST,Ponderin' 19 Dec 03 - 09:02 PM
McGrath of Harlow 19 Dec 03 - 09:40 PM
GUEST,Ponderin' 19 Dec 03 - 10:20 PM
ddw 20 Dec 03 - 12:41 AM
GUEST,Pict 20 Dec 03 - 01:36 AM
Dave the Gnome 20 Dec 03 - 04:33 AM
McGrath of Harlow 20 Dec 03 - 06:34 AM
GUEST,ponderin' 20 Dec 03 - 07:02 AM
Two_bears 20 Dec 03 - 07:34 AM
GUEST,Ponderin' 20 Dec 03 - 08:19 AM
Dave the Gnome 20 Dec 03 - 08:43 AM
Bobert 20 Dec 03 - 09:28 AM
McGrath of Harlow 20 Dec 03 - 10:08 AM
GUEST,Ponderin' 20 Dec 03 - 10:11 AM
ddw 20 Dec 03 - 10:29 AM
Dave the Gnome 20 Dec 03 - 11:10 AM
John Hardly 20 Dec 03 - 11:55 AM
Dave the Gnome 20 Dec 03 - 12:05 PM
JedMarum 20 Dec 03 - 12:12 PM
Amos 20 Dec 03 - 12:54 PM
JedMarum 20 Dec 03 - 01:00 PM
GUEST,Frank 20 Dec 03 - 01:09 PM
Amos 20 Dec 03 - 01:12 PM
John Hardly 20 Dec 03 - 01:31 PM
McGrath of Harlow 20 Dec 03 - 02:00 PM
Peace 20 Dec 03 - 02:13 PM
ddw 20 Dec 03 - 04:13 PM
ddw 20 Dec 03 - 04:19 PM
Gareth 20 Dec 03 - 04:33 PM
Don Firth 20 Dec 03 - 04:46 PM
McGrath of Harlow 20 Dec 03 - 04:58 PM
ddw 20 Dec 03 - 05:39 PM
Amos 20 Dec 03 - 05:40 PM
Dave the Gnome 20 Dec 03 - 05:52 PM
ddw 20 Dec 03 - 05:58 PM
Dave the Gnome 20 Dec 03 - 06:03 PM
ddw 20 Dec 03 - 06:04 PM
Dave the Gnome 20 Dec 03 - 06:11 PM
Amos 20 Dec 03 - 06:24 PM
ddw 20 Dec 03 - 06:24 PM
Bill D 20 Dec 03 - 06:28 PM
ddw 20 Dec 03 - 06:29 PM
Cruiser 20 Dec 03 - 06:32 PM
Dave the Gnome 20 Dec 03 - 06:46 PM
McGrath of Harlow 20 Dec 03 - 06:47 PM
Amos 20 Dec 03 - 07:21 PM
Gareth 20 Dec 03 - 07:29 PM
Dave the Gnome 20 Dec 03 - 07:38 PM
ddw 20 Dec 03 - 10:15 PM
Hrothgar 21 Dec 03 - 02:05 AM
ddw 21 Dec 03 - 12:45 PM
Dave the Gnome 21 Dec 03 - 01:34 PM
Peace 21 Dec 03 - 01:46 PM
McGrath of Harlow 21 Dec 03 - 01:54 PM
Dave the Gnome 21 Dec 03 - 02:17 PM
Peace 21 Dec 03 - 02:32 PM
ddw 21 Dec 03 - 02:36 PM
Dave the Gnome 21 Dec 03 - 04:33 PM
McGrath of Harlow 21 Dec 03 - 05:55 PM
ddw 21 Dec 03 - 06:10 PM
McGrath of Harlow 21 Dec 03 - 08:58 PM
Beardy 22 Dec 03 - 07:48 AM
GUEST,Frank 22 Dec 03 - 01:38 PM
McGrath of Harlow 22 Dec 03 - 02:22 PM
Peace 22 Dec 03 - 05:04 PM
McGrath of Harlow 22 Dec 03 - 06:26 PM
Two_bears 22 Dec 03 - 06:31 PM
Two_bears 22 Dec 03 - 06:49 PM
Peace 22 Dec 03 - 06:57 PM
Two_bears 22 Dec 03 - 07:03 PM
Two_bears 22 Dec 03 - 07:09 PM
Peace 22 Dec 03 - 07:10 PM
Two_bears 22 Dec 03 - 07:12 PM
GUEST,Ponderin' 22 Dec 03 - 07:32 PM
Peace 22 Dec 03 - 07:59 PM
Gareth 22 Dec 03 - 08:00 PM
Peace 22 Dec 03 - 08:04 PM
McGrath of Harlow 22 Dec 03 - 08:14 PM
Peace 22 Dec 03 - 08:54 PM
McGrath of Harlow 22 Dec 03 - 09:10 PM
Dave the Gnome 23 Dec 03 - 05:10 AM
Nigel Parsons 23 Dec 03 - 07:56 AM
Ringer 23 Dec 03 - 10:09 AM
Dave the Gnome 23 Dec 03 - 01:08 PM
McGrath of Harlow 23 Dec 03 - 01:27 PM
Bobert 23 Dec 03 - 05:18 PM
GUEST,Ed 23 Dec 03 - 05:28 PM
Peace 23 Dec 03 - 05:32 PM
Bobert 23 Dec 03 - 06:50 PM
EBarnacle 23 Dec 03 - 07:09 PM
McGrath of Harlow 23 Dec 03 - 07:34 PM
Peace 26 Dec 03 - 03:10 PM

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Subject: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 17 Dec 03 - 10:16 PM

The "Ian Huntley" case is currently the main news in the UK, [for them that don't know, Ian Huntley has just been found guilty of the murder of 2 little girls in Soham, Cambridge, UK, and sentenced to life in jail.

It has just been announced that he had been accused of loads of child-sex crimes, ie indecent assualt , rape, indecency, and 10 counts of sex with girls under 16 years of age, he ended up working in a school and killing 2 of the kids there.
1. should they kill him?
2. how the hell did a sicko like that end up working with kids?

I don;t have kids myself, but this case makes me sad and angry,
if proper character checks and references etc were sorted out, these kids would still be alive.

Surely there should be proper checks carried out on anyone that works with kids, teachers/dinner ladies/school cleaners etc?

Todays [Thursdays] Daily Express are alleging that there might be 30 more victims of his abuse.How sad ;-(


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 17 Dec 03 - 11:42 PM

In a world with billions of people in it, mistakes are made and bad things happen. Neither capital punishment nor changes in the law will end the imperfections of life. But yes, it's very sad.

- LH


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: ddw
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 02:30 AM

Well, finally I agree with something Little Hawk said — "Neither capital punishment nor changes in the law will end the imperfections of life."

But when it come to people like that, capital punishment sure as hell cuts down on recidivism.

I don't know if it's what LH would say, but I get sick of the people who argue capital punishment is "cruel and unusual." Locking somebody up for life, especially if -- as in this kind of case -- it will be in the form of solitary confinement called "protective custody." That, to me is cruel. People are social beings, whether or not they abuse the rules. I think life in isolation would be worse than death.

Unusual? Gimme a break! Read history. Throughout most of it, death penalties have been meted out for crimes against property. At least now it's meted out -- in western societies, at least -- only for heinous crimes against persons or the state. Under Islamic law, a thief -- even if he's stealing food or something else necessary for existance -- has his right hand cut off. Since the culture dictates that you eat from the communal bowl with your right hand and wipe you ass with your left, severing the right hand is a death sentence. It's just slower and less humane than hanging, the electric chair, lethal injection or a firing squad.

In the past there have been terrible mistakes in trials. Folk song abound about people killed, only to have it discovered later they were not responsible for the crimes they were killed for. Canada has had a recent spate of cases in which people have spent up to 25 years in prison for crimes they didn't commit and who -- if Canada hadn't banned the death penalty -- would have been executed.

That used to be a good argument against the death penalty. I agree with the concept that "I'd rather see 100 guilty men go free than to see one innocent man hanged." But forensic technology has reached a point at which many of those mistakes are not possible.

Can mistakes still be made? Of course. That's what appelate courts are for.

I don't know the details of the Ian Huntley case, but I say that if — after all the appeals have been made and found wanting, solid evidence exists to support a conviction and there are no mitigating circumstances — they should shove in the needle. If there is ANY doubt, then life imprisonment is an accecptable alternative. Otherwise, save taxpayers the $70,000 or $80,000 per person, per year it takes to keep these people locked up.

cheers,
david


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: GUEST,guest from NW
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 03:11 AM

the state should not be allowed to commit murder. that's what the death penalty is, murder premeditated. if you say you are a christian and you support the death penalty you are not really a christian. horrible crimes are, have been and will always be committed and will not be deterred by a death penalty. a civilized and moral society rejects revenge murder and pays the price to remove these people and lock them away. those who would support revenge murder are no better than the criminal. period.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: alanabit
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 03:40 AM

The Birmingham Six, The Maguires and The Guilford Four were all arrested and found guilty of causing explosions. There was forensic evidence offered against them. That forensic evidence was later discredited. Seventeen innocent people spent years in prison. One of the Guilford Four died in prison - I may well have forgotten others. Whole families were devastated. It brought no closure for the victims of the bombings, because the culprits were no longer pursued.
The science of today becomes the fallacy of tomorrow. Science is never absolute. It only tells us what we know now. By ddw's reckoning, we should have broken seventeen innocent necks in the seventies. Thank God this hideous little ritual of revenge no longer takes place in most civilised countries.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 04:43 AM

alanabit: whilst the cases you quote may have resulted in 'innocent' people in prison, I believe (without reading into it too deeply) that their sentences have been overturned because the forensic evidence would not now be sufficient to get a conviction.
However, had the police (or CPS) known at the time of the case that it could in time be overturned for insufficient evidence then they would (presumably) have sought more confirmatory evidence before proceeding with the cases.(possibly against the same people)
I am a great believer in the idea that "A man is innocent until proven guilty to the satisfaction of a jury of his peers" But I also believe that once found guilty, the 'presumption of innocence' can no longer be relied on, and a change in the law, or standards of forensic evidence, are not sufficient alone to overturn a jury's decision.

Just my personal view

CHEERS

Nigel


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Wilfried Schaum
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 04:50 AM

The inviolability of the individual human life is a postulation of most of all liberal and democratic constitutions and enforced by the state and its institutions.
So the question arises: Can the state be allowed to take lives by itself?
Under such conditions my answer is NO.

Wilfried


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 05:13 AM

Having just watched the last in the Lord of the Rings saga I am reminded of a little of Gandalfs wisdom. OK - I know he is a fictional characted but I think is a good point non the less.

"Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends. I have not much hope that Gollum can be cured before he dies, but there is a chance of it. And he is bound up with the fate of the Ring. My heart tells me that he has some part to play yet, for good or ill, before the end; and when that comes, the pity of Bilbo may rule the fate of many- yours not least."


- Gandalf to Frodo Baggins. In answer to Frodo saying Gollum deserved to die


Cheers

Dave the Gnome
(No - I did not remember it verbatim. I looked it up on the web of course!)


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: mooman
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 06:09 AM

I'm not sure I agree with you Nigel...

Someone is either innocent or guilty of a crime. If they are, in fact innocent, but are convicted on faulty forensic evidence or some other evidence even by the fairest jury available, that still does not make them actually "guilty" in reality. Only in the eyes of the law.

I used to work as a forensic scientist and once appeared in court to give evidence in a firearms case (no-one was killed or injured fortunately but a guilty verdict would have carried a stiff sentence). Unusually, in that particular case I was giving a forensic opinion for the defence against the police forensic service who had been, in my scientific opinion, unjustifiably "exact" in their conclusions. In reality, the uncertainty involved in the analysis of the forensic evidence in question did not warrant the degree of assurance expressed. In the event, the prosecution withdrew their case following my evidence and, only later, was I told that there was inadmissible evidence that would also have exonerated the accused (he/she in fact was elsewhere at the scence of a more mundane crime!).

The point here is that science is not an absolute, as stated by alanabit. No good scientist would clain absolute surety about anything. There is a certain level of knowledge and understanding at a given time. My degree of knowledge on a very specialist subject in the case I mentioned above was considered to outweigh the "official" opinion. Besides these "normal" differences in opinions between experts, any given scientific discipline evolves and more techniques become available. I wonder, for instance, how many miscarriages of justice (i.e. pro or against the defendant) would have been avoided with the DNA techniques now available?

As yours, just my personal opinion of course...

Regarding the Ian Huntley case, I agree with the life sentences given and, like alanabit and my friend Wilfried and others above, I am absolutely against capital punishment (and always have been so).

Peace,

moo


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Ethereal Purple
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 07:09 AM

"I get sick of the people who argue capital punishment is "cruel and unusual." Locking somebody up for life, especially if -- as in this kind of case -- it will be in the form of solitary confinement called "protective custody." That, to me is cruel. People are social beings, whether or not they abuse the rules. I think life in isolation would be worse than death."

That should be up to the criminal. I'd MUCH rather live a life in isolation, than die - if I was the one convicted, how could you possibly say that it'd be less cruel to kill me? That makes no sense. You can't take a life... whatever the reason.

And, besides, as LH earlier said "Neither capital punishment nor changes in the law will end the imperfections of life." The death of a criminal, no matter how heinous the crime, does no good to the victim or anyone else. And... violence begets violence.

"Hostilities aren't stilled through hostility, regardless.
Hostilities are stilled through non-hostility:
This, an unending truth."
(The Buddha, Dhammapada 5)


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: DMcG
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 07:30 AM

I think life in isolation would be worse than death

In the insert of Fairport's "Babbacombe Lee" is a reprint of the Lloyd's Weekly News article John Lee wrote. It ends like this:

It was some days before I learned what my future was to be [after hanging had failed]. The information was at last brought to me by the governor. He told me that Her Majesty had commuted my sentence to penal servitude for life. .... Had I relaised what a terrible drag those years were to be I would have gone down on my knees and prayed for Death.

I did not know that I had been saved from one tomb only to be consigned to another.

I did not know know that the the living Death I was about to endure was more terrible than anything the grave can offer.

I did not realise what it would be to mount slowly up though all those years, bearing on my shoulders a weary burden of heart-ache and shame.

I was a boy. I thought like a boy.

I thought only of life. And life was very sweet to me then.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: DMcG
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 07:52 AM

Also, on the matter of forensic evidence. In the UK we have seen some cases recently concerning cot deaths where the scientist concerned seems not to have understood the mathematics of probability theory, in particular how they are affected by whether events are truly independant, and the effects of Bayes theorem on testing hypotheses. There are certainly cases where frequency of a DNA trait in the population as a whole is markedly different to the frequency amongst ethic groups - think of blue eyes, for example - which has lead to some dubious convictions, according to 'Scientific American' some years ago (sorry, I can't give a reference.)

The risk that the jury assumed that the forensic evidence is conclusive when such errors and omission occur has been sufficient to lead to a number of cases being overturned on appeal.

I don't know what the answer is. Having trials without juries is certainly not it. A better general understanding of science and maths would be ideal, but hopelessly impractical for the forseeable future.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: GUEST,Strollin' Johnny
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 08:05 AM

The decision to overturn the convictions of the B'ham Six, Guildford Four et al was not a declaration of their innocence, merely an admission by senior members of the judiciary that guilt could not be proved safely and within the requirements of the British criminal justice system. One does not equal the other, and whether they were guilty or innocent is a fact known, presumably, only by them and God.

What is absolutely certain, however, is the innocence of the the victims of those outrages who never got the chance to have reversed or mitigated the injustice which the bombers meted out on them.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 08:16 AM

Australian Politicians think that living in Canberra is definitely Capital Punsihment.

Robin


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: ddw
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 09:56 AM

Ethereal....

"You can't take a life... whatever the reason."
Oh yeah? How about in a war? How about if someone is threatening to kill or maim you or a loved one or someone down the street and you're pretty sure he's going to act on those threats? With imminent danger the pivotal test, I don't know of a religion or legal system that doesn't recognize self defence or the defence of others as a legitimate reason to kill. And surely society, just as much as any individual, has a right to defend itself and exercise the defense of the people within it.

"And... violence begets violence."
Not if the person who started it and is bent on continuing it is dead....

Mooman...
"I wonder, for instance, how many miscarriages of justice (i.e. pro or against the defendant) would have been avoided with the DNA techniques now available?"

Bingo!
I realize forensic scientists have made mistakes in the past and will continue to do so, but the technology has advanced so far that in major cases it could be a deciding factor -- either way. And if all the elements of proof come together, including the DNA and other tests, to show somebody committed a heinous, premeditated crime, I wouldn't hesitate to push the plunger or throw the switch.

david


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 10:12 AM

Oh yeah? How about in a war? How about if someone is threatening to kill or maim you or a loved one or someone down the street and you're pretty sure he's going to act on those threats?

Poor argument in any discussion on capital punishment. I'm afraid. I would, and have, acted in a violent and uncharacteristic manner when in a threatening situation.

When it is a judge safe on his bench it is a far cry from someone in that life or death situation though. I don't think anyone would deny you the right to defend yourself. Why, though, would anyone feel the right to defend themselves by killing someone in cold blood?

Please don't misunderstand. I agree that we need defending from killers, rapists and a whole host of other criminals (including spam emailers!) but at the end of the day, death is a pretty unforgiving form of protection.

DtG


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: mack/misophist
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 10:37 AM

As a person who wholehearted believes in capital punishment, there is one problem I can't argue away. Until the courts are perfect, a certain number of executions will actually be murders. Until the courts are perfect, this is something that should not be allowed.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Raptor
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 10:46 AM

First I say we make Convicted sex Offenders Get Casterated!

Second We have cannabals like Jeffry Dalmer over for the Wiennie Roast!

Third Dave the Gnome: Golum is dead? Thanks for spoiling that suprise!

Raptor


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Beverley Barton
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 10:54 AM

Hang em high!


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: ddw
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 12:10 PM

DtG,

I'm afraid I see it as your argument that doesn't hold water. A judge passing a death sentence is not doing it as an individual, he is doing it in the name of the society he has a legal and moral commitment to protect. And, as I said before, I think a society has the right to protect itself from the likes of Ian Huntley, Timothy McVay, Saddam Hussein, bin Laden, Mugabe, Idi Amin, Milosevic or Hitler. I would even extend that to just your average serial killer or rapist, drug lord or other cold-blooded killers.

I'm all for due process of law, but I'm not in favor of keeping alive people who have forfeited their right to live by taking the lives of others. I'd a thousand times rather see the money wasted on them spent helping people who are trying to live better lives and contribute to the wellbeing of the society.

Misophist
I assume you're making a joke by straddling the fence in such as way as to appease the pros while saying they can't possibly be right. You're right -- courts aren't perfect. But when the science, the witnesses and a host of other things all point to guilt, there comes a point at which a society has to say "enough!" and do something about it.

cheers,

david


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Gareth
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 12:55 PM

Mmmm ! Strange as it may seem, I am not against Capital Punisnisment in principle.

My fear is that the irreverability of Capital Punishment may have an undue influence on a jury.

It is as much a miscaridge of justice to release the guilty, as imprison the inocent.

It think society is better protected by the law as it stands in the UK than by any attempt to recall the death penalty.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 01:03 PM

It always strikes me as strange when yoiungetbthe same people saying at one moment "Some people gave done such terrible things they deserve to be killed", and then switch to saying "And death is more merciful than life in prison, anyway." Can't have it both ways.

(And I'm not saying that the people who have said one of those thigs in this thread necessarily would say the other, but we've all come up againsat people who do.)

DNA evidence - even when it's available, and even if it's infallible in itself, it's pretty well impossible to exclude the possibility of the evidence being contaminated, either by accident or intentionally.

I'm grateful to live in the European Union, where the death penalty has been abolished in what I hope is an irrevocable way. I can remember the unhealthy kind of excitement that ran around my school on mornings when an execution was scheduled. I'm glad to be free of this, at least so far as this part of the world is concerned.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Blackcatter
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 01:05 PM

1) In Florida (and most of the U.S.) the high cost to the state of numerous appeals connected to death penalty cases typically make it MORE expensive to kill someone than it does to keep them in jail the resst of their life.

2) In cases like the one John started this tread with - sexual abuse and murder of kids, anyone convicted of that nearly has a death sentence put around their neck jsut by walking into the prison. Look at the case of Father Gagin.

3) Why is it that murder is the only eye-for-an-eye punishment we really have? We don't punish rapists by having them raped. Someone who beats up another person does not get beat up.

4) look at the list of fine upstanding countries who have the death penalty. I'm so glad the U.S. is in that elite group.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 01:11 PM

A judge passing a death sentence is not doing it as an individual, he is doing it in the name of the society he has a legal and moral commitment to protect.

Oh, that's OK then. I guess that excuses the Iraqi judges deciding they needed protecting against the Kurds or the German SS deciding it was for the good of society that they Jews had to go?

Would the British government be right on excecuting convicted IRA bombers? Ask in an Orange bar in Belfast and I suspect you would get a very different answer from the regulars at O'Flanigans in New York. (I guess there is such a place!)

Keep trying though. Interesting arguments.

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 01:16 PM

and Raptor - hehehehe :-)

I never that. I only said that Frodo said he DESERVED to die. Not that he acualy did. Read Gandalfs reply again and enjoy the film ;-)

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: GUEST,Possible juror.
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 01:29 PM

I wouldn't want to sit on a jury, where the sentence dished out could be death. I wouldn't want to be responsible for killing someone. Gareth made a good point.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Bobert
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 02:04 PM

If we are to become a more *civil*ized world then we need to put "sanctity of life* front and center. How can that be accomplished with the world's only super power (and role model...) still allowing its government to kill its citizens? Killing is not punishment. It is vengence. That's God's job! Not mans.

Now, I mentioned a while back on another thread the idea of turning the current prison/industrial complex into a public/private partnership where prisons would become like factories that produced lots of the things that government now purchases from strictly from the private sector. This would cut way down on government spending and would get productivity from the percentage of the incarcerated population which is now not only not productive but a further drain on our resources. Another element that could be thrown into the mix is "restitution". A portion of the money saved with such a system could go into a fund to pay for the losses of the victims...

Such a system would also provide inmates with opportunities to learn real world skills and would cut down on the revolving door system that we have now....

Sorry to creep but it's part of a larger vision...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Wolfgang
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 02:07 PM

Of course, I'm on the side of the Europeans here and find (most of) their arguments convincing. No need to repeat them.

But one (tongue in cheek) correction before I turn the computer off:

Thank God this hideous little ritual of revenge no longer takes place in most civilised countries. (Alanabit)

Most? You're wrong. All

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: ddw
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 04:27 PM

DtG -- bad examples. Neither the Iraqis nor the Nazis followed due process in their mass killing of Kurds and Jews. I still say the judge -- a real judge in a real court -- is merely the voice of the society he represents and it is up to the society to set the guidelines within which he operates. He is not, as were the examples you cited, free to engage in murderous whims.

McGrath -- saying that someone deserves to die for their crimes and then saying the death penalty is less cruel than life imprisonment (particularly in isolation) are in no way contradictory. They're entirely separate concepts concerning ideas of life and death. Certainly not mutually exclusive.

Blackcatter -- I'd love to see those figures. Do you have a referant?

cheers,

david


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Don Firth
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 06:34 PM

Apart from mass murderers on the scale of Saddam Hussein, or even moreso, Adolf Hitler, Gary Ridgway is about as bad as a human being can get.

This afternoon, in King County Superior Court in Seattle, Gary Ridgway, otherwise known as "The Green River Killer," who murdered 48 young women in the Pacific Northwest, has just been given 48 consecutive life sentences to be spent in solitary confinement with no chance of parole. Furthermore, any financial profit made from any books he might write or any books, movies, or television dramas about him is to be awarded to the families of the victims.

Ridgway was (is) a psychopath. He is now removed from society to a maximum security prison where he can no longer interact with anyone other than prison personnel. Although a few of the victims' family members are not satisfied that he didn't receive the death penalty, most feel that justice has been served. I agree.

Story here.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 06:50 PM

David, you mean "This person is so bad they deserve to be killed - but they aren't bad enough to deserve being locked away for life" ?

Well, it's a logical option I suppose, but I wouldn't be too sure that's what people defending the death penalty by these arguments are actually meaning.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Raedwulf
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 07:14 PM

1) In Florida (and most of the U.S.) the high cost to the state of numerous appeals connected to death penalty cases typically make it MORE expensive to kill someone than it does to keep them in jail the resst of their life.

Ah! That old chestnut. There's always one who trots that daft statistic out - that isn't because of CP, it's because your judicial system is screwed & inefficient. Other than that, I engaged in this debate last time round (the one Bobert was referring to, where IIRC I debunked that same daft statistic...) & I'll pass this time!


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 07:20 PM

Of course, if the priority is saving mnoney, dispensing with trials entirely is one way to do it. It appears they are testing out that one in Guantanamo Bay.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: ddw
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 08:11 PM

McGrath -- you got it in one! I advocate removing the threat, not torturing the convicted.

david


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Blackcatter
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 08:56 PM

Ah! That old chestnut. There's always one who trots that daft statistic out - that isn't because of CP, it's because your judicial system is screwed & inefficient.

That may be true but there isn't any talk of reforming the judicial system (and the prison system too).

Your statement is flawed in that you want to throw away a valid point because in a "better world" it needed be a valid point. Sheesh.



David,

I don't have stats right now, but I will ask around. I good friend works with Amnesty and is also the widow of a former Florida Death Row inmate (he screwed the system by dieing of cancer before they could put him in "Old Sparky"). By the way, the Death Row men and women are the only inmates in Florida that receive descent healthcare. Florida hates it when they die and other way.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: ddw
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 11:41 PM

That's what I suspected, Blackcatter. When you do find them I'd love to see them. And I'd really be impressed if they came from sources with less built-in bias than Amnesty (who wouldn't have anything to do if they didn't have their fingers on the pulse of every atrocity in the world) and a death row widow.

Good journalists have a saying: "If your mother says she loves you, check it out." I've seen all kinds of organizations -- some very respected -- that will lie to further their agendas.

cheers,

david


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Peace
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 11:52 PM

What did you learn in school today, dear little boy of mine.

. . . .
I learned if you murder, you die for the crime,
Even if we make a mistake sometime,
And that's what I learned in school today, that's what I learned in school. (Thanks, Tom Paxton.)

My arguments against capital punishment: Donald Marshall, Willie Nepoose, David Milgard.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 19 Dec 03 - 07:12 AM

a real judge in a real court

So now not only are we deciding who is to live or die. We are also deciding who's judiciary is correct. I realy should give up against such blind predjudice but I can't help myself at times...

Please define 'a real judge in a real court'. The British version? The Texan one? Israel? Palestine? Zimbabwe? Sorry, but one persons version of justice may be completely different from another. Who is right? We cannot judge them any more that we would like them to judge us. In either how the system works or in who is to live or die.

So, back to the original question. Capital Punishment? Quite simply, no. Neither you nor me nor anyone here can make those sort of decisions. And what are judges but people like us?

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: ddw
Date: 19 Dec 03 - 10:17 AM

Your point used to be well taken, Brucie -- but is not in conflict with my position, as you seem to believe. It was the very technology that exonerated Milgaard and Marshall that makes your absolute position an anachronism. With the technology we have today neither man would have been convicted in the first place. I can't comment on the other one. I'm not familiar with the case.

DtG --Since you're obviously such a morally and intelledctually superior being, maybe you can tell me 1) how you know that my "blind prejudice" isn't just something in conflict with your blind prejudice (technology advances, man. Why can't you?) and 2) if all the justices systems are indistinguishable in moral terms, why isn't Taliban justice for women just as good as ours?

Sheesh! Talk about blind prejudice... But then, you're arguing from the wisdom bestowed by the devine right of liberals, aren't you?

cheers,

david


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Partridge
Date: 19 Dec 03 - 10:21 AM

I think capital punishment is barbaric, I could never sit on a jury where that was an option.

Drifting to another thread, I'm sure the reason Bush wants Saddams' trial in Iraq is so that he will get the death penalty. This will stop him talking about any potentialy embarassing detail.

Pat x


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: ddw
Date: 19 Dec 03 - 10:41 AM

Hey Partridge, that some of the finest convoluted thinking I've seen in a while for Bush bashing. Gold star for that one.

Probably didn't occur to you that it might just be a nod to world opinion? Or in line with the concept of being tried by a jury of one's peers? Or maybe even an acknowledgement that since he ruled, ostensibly, under the laws of an Islamic country he should be tried under the same laws? Or something else equally as dark and insidious?

You and DtG should compare notes -- you could probably save the world in a matter of days, if not hours.....

cheers,

david


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Partridge
Date: 19 Dec 03 - 10:50 AM

Hey, thanks David,

Its a nod to Bushs opinion. The united nations don't want him tried in a country that has the death penalty. If he was a ordinary criminal then I could see your argument, but he is no ordinary man - as a past leader of the country and a war criminal he should be tried as such by the united nations war crimes tribunal.

I don't think I could save the world even with DtG's help, but, hey you got to try!

Pat x


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: GUEST,Strollin' Johnny
Date: 19 Dec 03 - 11:06 AM

What concerns me here is that the 'not under any circumstances' brigade all seem to be more concerned about the rights of the murderer than those of his victim. I tried to open this up earlier in this thread but I notice you all carefully ignored it. The TRULY INNOCENT one, the one whose life has been taken, never gets the opportunity of a re-run of his murder so that he might, on the second occasion and with lessons learned from the first occasion, find a way to escape with his life.

Like most, I dislike the idea of a wrongly-convicted person being put to death but, far more, I loathe the idea of the guilty receiving a lesser sentence than that which he meted out to his victim.

Anyone out there got an argument which could persuade me? I won't hold my breath.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: ddw
Date: 19 Dec 03 - 11:09 AM

I was aware of the UN position -- which I consider about as hypocritical as they come, unless they are trying to guard against making that butcher into a martyr who will be used to wind up other crazies. That would give the UN some credence here, but I'd still agree with Dubya on this one.

Saddam was a loose cannon, wiping out whole segments of his own people and scaring the hell out of all his neighbours. I think they'll be quite happy to see him executed if it comes to that. There is also the fact that the various Arab countries distust each other enough so that the "martyr" thing will be relatively contained. He was a secular leader, not a religion-based one like a bin Laden, who has spread his power base far enough to be a world threat.

I don't want to rehash the whole "weapons of mass destruction" debacle -- except to say the U.S.'s certainty that he had them was based on the fact they supplied him with the technology -- but Saddam was basically just a boil on the world's ass that needed to be lanced. By comparison, bin Laden is a major cancer that has metasticized and threatens the whole body...

cheers,

david


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: ddw
Date: 19 Dec 03 - 11:11 AM

Points well taken, SJ.

david


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: EBarnacle
Date: 19 Dec 03 - 11:12 AM

Up to about a year ago, I believed in CP as a permanent removal of a threat from the world. I had worked in Corrections for the State of New York and known an escapee who murdered a colleague of mine. Many of the inmates seemed barely human in the cognitive sense.

About a year ago, some genuine Muslim terrorists were convicted in Federal court in Brooklyn. There was a sentencing hearing and the conclusion was that, as any judicial termination would have been considered a death in process of Jihad, they were sentenced to multiple life sentences.

If we cannot in good conscience execute murderers who participate in terrorism, [because that is what they desire] with definite malice aforethought, how can we execute others? If the intent of punishment is to punish with no intent of penitence or correction, it certainly makes more sense to imprison than to execute.

The equation of imprisonment to torture is not exact but, until murderers can be reliably changed, it is more reasonable to keep them in durance vile. Not too long ago John Hinckley would have been executed. I believe society's needs are more closely met by incarceration than by execution.

The Talmudic interpretation is that the negative effect on the soul of the executioner is as significant as the effect of the execution on the being executed.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Dec 03 - 11:37 AM

The problem with the "life " sentence in the UK is it means everthing from actual life (only about two or three currently serving life with a recomendation that they serve life) to 8 or ten years when parole can be granted. Imagine walking down the street ten years after having a daughter or son murdered and meeting their killer free to roam.

It happens in the UK all too frequently. Then the most horrific of all is having a loved one murdered by a repeat offender.

Either keep em inside , no compromise , or execute them.

My vote would be the latter even taking in all the above arguments.

Spot


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: ddw
Date: 19 Dec 03 - 11:38 AM

EBarnacle,

That's one of the best arguments I've ever seen against the death penalty, but I don't follow the logic in the third paragraph. No one (except the "never kill" crowd) ever argued that capital punishment shouldn't be meted out on a case-by-case basis. I don't advocate a blanket "you-kill,you-die" form of justice. That's no justice at all. If the killer welcomes death as a religious rite of passage, I would withhold his passport to heaven. Especially if he were likely to become a martyr.

Of course that would open the jihad-defence "protection" to any terrorist who got caught, so even that would have to be very carefully considered....

I was having a PM conversation with someone else in the thread a few minutes ago and I'll reproduce part of that here:

As I said, I'd rather see 100 guilty man go free than one innocent man hanged. But there are cases where all the evidence -- witnesses, forensics including DNA and other things — is so overwhelming that there can be no defence other than diminished capacity or N/G by reason of mental defect or insanity. In those cases I think the person should make the call to live or die, provided he/she becomes stable enough to make the decision. If not, keep them away from society with a life sentence.

But I think the John Wayne Gaceys, Jeffey Dahmers, D.C. loop snipers, Timothy McVeys, etc. of the world should be executed.

With special cases such as bin Laden, Saddam, Milosevic, Hitler, Idi Amin and butchers of that ilk, some political considerations would have to come into it -- principally whether executing them would create a matryr for other crazies to use.
Those might more effectively be handled by putting them in 12 X 12 cells with TV cameras on 24/7 for a little "reality TV."

cheers,

david


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: GUEST,Strollin' Johnny
Date: 19 Dec 03 - 12:24 PM

'Guest' you make some good points there. If it were possible to rely on the British system of justice to metaphorically 'take the life' of the murderer by removing him from society for the rest of his natural life I'd have no problem with that. However, the reality is that they can almost count on being released within ten years, often to then repeat their heinous crimes.

The severity of the punishment must fit the crime, and in no way does a ten-year stretch even begin to equate with, for instance, the subjecting of a child to degrading and disgusting sexual violence and murder.

Why should the killer have greater rights than his victim? Somebody tell me.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: ddw
Date: 19 Dec 03 - 12:39 PM

SG and guest -- points well taken. In Canada any first- or second-degree murder carries an automatic sentence of "life imprisonment," but here too that does not mean "for the rest of your natural life." First-degree murderers are automatically eligible for parole in 25 years, unless in a separate hearing they are declared "dangerous offenders." Then they can be locked away in jail or a psychiatric hospital for life. Second-degree murders have to serve a minimum of 10 years, but the sentencing judge can (with or without the recommendation of a jury) add time to that. There is no death penalty, regardless of the evil the crime embodies.

What really blows my mind is that opinion poll after opinion poll shows that the Canadian public, by a pretty wide margin, wants a reinstitution of the death penalty but the politicians refuse to put it to a vote. Go figure.

cheers,

david


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: GUEST,guest from NW
Date: 19 Dec 03 - 12:46 PM

being against CP isn't about the rights of the murderer. it's about the rights of innocent people being compromised in the case of mistaken judgements and if you look up the figures you'll find plenty of instances of this and our technology has not evolved to a point beyond making mistakes. the other reason is that the state should not be allowed to commit murder. when it has that perogative you will find examples of the death penalty being used for political purposes. think about blacks in the south before the civil rights movement. many cases of CP used as a political tool. none of my opposition to CP has anything to do with extending "extra" or "special rights to a murderer".
and to add to that, i also believe that he who kills a murderer is also a murderer no matter what "belief system" allows you to think that it is a justifiable act. the only acceptable standard to me is actual self-defense in which you face an immediate threat not the construct that says sentencing by a judge constitutes "societal" self-defense. removing the offender from society for life is the defense i advocate. when the law doesn't accomodate that we need to change the law.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 19 Dec 03 - 01:16 PM

GUEST, from NW, said, in part:

the state should not be allowed to commit murder. that's what the death penalty is, murder premeditated.

Not so. Murder is a creature of statute, defined by the State, at least in the US. There is no common-law crime.

Now, whether the death penalty is justified, ever, is a question which is legitimately arguable, but don't overstate your case by fuzzing up concepts to lend emotional appeal to your position.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 19 Dec 03 - 01:34 PM

Sorry of I offended you ddw. Perhaps my use of blind predjudice could be construed as an insult but I can assure you that the intention was in no way offensive. However...

You have not adressed the point in question. Ie - Just who's justice system do we use? You ask why the Taliban justice system is not as good as 'ours'. Who says it isn't? Who are you to infict your interpretation of a judiciary on someone from a different religion, culture and country to you? In fact, to someone who believes in capital punisment, their system has a lot going for it!

As to the point about technological advances over mine. Sorry. Don't understand. Am I supposed to be insulted that I have not developed like the atomic bomb and chemical warfare?

I must say though that you do make uo for it by finaly admitting that my aruguments are better than yours.

Since you're obviously such a morally and intelledctually superior being. Surely you were not being ironic or even, heaven fordid, sarcastic were you? I cannot imagine anyone resorting to such tactics within a sensible argument.

And always remember that all an eye for an eye ever led to was a lot of blind people:-)

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Ebbie
Date: 19 Dec 03 - 03:32 PM

"I dislike the idea of a wrongly-convicted person being put to death but, far more, I loathe the idea of the guilty receiving a lesser sentence than that which he meted out to his victim." Strolling Johnny, if I were innocent of the crime I was found guilty of, believe me I would do more than dislike the penalty, even though I was among the myriad of people who loathed the treatment the victim had undergone from the perpertrator. And what it comes down to is individuals like me.


One reason for a 'life' sentence in actuality resulting in fewer than 10 years in prison is because in the vast majority of killings, the recidivism rate is very small. Most murders are crimes of passion where opportunity and overwhelming desire met.

Exceptions must be dealt with in exceptional manner.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: ddw
Date: 19 Dec 03 - 04:28 PM

Some very good points, Dave. And they speak directly to DtG's question of whose legal system is superior.

DtG -- There are moral and ethical tests that can determine the superiority of a "justice" system. The pivotal point is the rule of law -- as opposed to kangaroo courts and run-amok street executions of the Taliban and like organizations. I can't see how anyone could oppose the death penalty and in the same breath argue there is not something morally superior in codified law which can be known by all. You would prefer -- or at least support -- the Khamer Rouge or Taliban or Nazi justice systems as on the same moral and ethical footing?

A society has the right to lay down its own laws and enforce them. On that, as far as I can tell, we agree. But the public must know what the rules are and the state must enforce them uniformly or you have chaos. If the law says "You kill, you die," and someone deliberately sets out to ignore that law, how is it murder to enforce your own law against murder? If someone killed another (with or without justification) and then government agents sneaked into his house and killed him without due process, that would be murder. If it gathers evidence, builds a case and gives the accused due process to defend himself, a guilty verdict and execution is in a different moral category.

As for my response to being lumped into the category of "blind prejudice," yes -- I took offense at that. But far be it from me to introduce sarcasm into such a learned discussion....

cheers,

david


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 19 Dec 03 - 04:57 PM

Thanks David - Although I still do not agree we have at least brought the argument back to civlity. A touch of humour can often do that. I will remember But far be it from me to introduce sarcasm into such a learned discussion.... with fondness:-)

It is extremely pleasant to find that such important arguments can rage between protagonists without leading to extremities. I will be happy to continue my case now.

A society does indeed have the right to lay down it's own laws. The laws of this land (The UK if you had not gathered - where are you btw?) say that the death sentence is not allowed. The whole argument about whether the death sentence is appropriate is therefore invalid and purely academic!

Surely you cannot argue that the areas that do have the death sentence, Texas for instance, have the right to impose their views on us?

The only argument therefore is whether the death sentence shoud be re-introduced in the UK. It is here that I am afraid that I realy must take the moral high ground. It will never happen. The majority of people are opposed to it. We are a democratic society so if the majority were in favour we would elect someone who supported the death sentence. Wouldn't we? Or am I being naive in thinking that democracy works like that?

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: ddw
Date: 19 Dec 03 - 05:19 PM

Not disagreeing with you and your country's choice, DtG, but I have a little difficulty with your idea that debate is invalid and purely academic.

Societal attitudes change over time. I don't know for sure, but I assume that at some point the Canadian public (I've lived in Canada now for more than 33 years) actually supported the ban on capital punishment. As I said, I'm not sure it ever happened, but even if it did I can't understand what's happened since. Poll after poll in the last 10 or 15 years has shown the public supports capital punishment -- with margins ranging from 52 to 64 per cent. But the government REFUSES, even under pressure from the opposition, to put the question to a vote again.

Democracy? Not in a parliamentary system where the Prime Minister, once elected, is a virtual god. Sure, the electorate can throw him out, but as long as he's in power party discipline makes his power nearly absolute.

cheers,

david


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 19 Dec 03 - 05:47 PM

"Amnesty (who wouldn't have anything to do if they didn't have their fingers on the pulse of every atrocity in the world)" (ddw)

Now isn't that a pathetic thing for people to try to do? Amnesty groups are made up of ordinary people who have plenty of other things to do with their time, but who voluntarily give up some of that time, to try to make the world a little less terrible.

What ridiculous people they must be to do that, ddw, don't you agree?


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: DMcG
Date: 19 Dec 03 - 06:50 PM

I'm also UK (and against CP as it happens), but I am not at all sure that "The majority of people are opposed to it". I seem to recall that the few polls that have attempted to explore the topic find more in favour of re-introduction, but I am willing to be corrected. The whole thing is complicated by the fact that the answer after Dr Shipman and Soham would probably give a different answer to normal times and different again to the answer if some big miscarriage of justice case had just been in the media. Also I guess the answer is perhaps even more susceptible to the phrasing of the question than usual. I'm afraid we don't score very well on the consistancy front.

"We are a democratic society so if the majority were in favour we would elect someone who supported the death sentence. Wouldn't we? Or am I being naive in thinking that democracy works like that?"

'Fraid so. For example, when was the last pro-capital punishment party leader around?


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: DMcG
Date: 19 Dec 03 - 06:58 PM

For what it is worth, here is a link to a Suffolk Police Federation survey. The relevant part is:


Regardless of political practicalities, in your heart of hearts do you believe that capital punishment should be restored for first degree murder?

Yes               62.4% No             36.0%


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 19 Dec 03 - 06:58 PM

The point is, there's no way legally in which they could reintroduce the Death Penalty in the UK.

Not unless somehow they could get every other country in the European Union to agree to bringing it back - and one problem with that would be, in a referendum on this in Ireland a couple of years ago people voted to amend the Irish Constitution to make it impossible to restore the Death Penalty, without another Constitutional Amendment which would require that people voted the other way.

Or theoretically the UK could pull out of the European Union completely. Which won't happen.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: ddw
Date: 19 Dec 03 - 08:45 PM

McGrath -- you're right about Amnesty being made up of ordinary people with good intentions. So was most of the Nazi party, but they got hijacked by leaders and philosophies they didn't understand and led quite a bit astray. Not that I'm necessarily saying Amnesty people are going to become Nazis, but they sure as hell can be led around by leaders who have their own agendas -- not the least of which is to perpetuate their organization. I have dealt with hundreds of people over the years who will lie through their teeth (and sometimes even believe their own lies) to further their own causes. Amnesty, for all its claim to be on the moral high road, is just as guilty of that as the next bunch of do-gooders.

Sorry mate, but trundling out the rank and file's intentions doesn't impress me much. Maybe I'm still caught in the skepticism that's an occupational hazard for cops and journalists -- both of whom are lied to incessantly....

cheers,

david


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: GUEST,Ponderin'
Date: 19 Dec 03 - 09:02 PM

Maybe countries that allow their citizens to freely walk the streets armed with weapons that could kill each other, do not place such a strong importance on the value of life?


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 19 Dec 03 - 09:40 PM

"...you're right about Amnesty being made up of ordinary people with good intentions. So was most of the Nazi party."

I'm afraid that is crap. Ordinary people yes, but ordinary people who didn't give a damn about hating Jews and Gypsies and Trade Unionists and anybody who wouldn't fall in line. That was the Nazis, right from the start.

There are still lots of people a whoare rather like that around, I'm afraid. And that's why there are always people who will defend the kind of things that Amnesty helps bring to light. Being ordinary isn't in itself enough.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: GUEST,Ponderin'
Date: 19 Dec 03 - 10:20 PM

So Amnesty is led by people who wish to perpetuate their organization? Thank God it is, it is in safe hands then.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: ddw
Date: 20 Dec 03 - 12:41 AM

Is it, Ponderin'? Even when they'll make up "wrongs" just to give themselves reasons to stay in their jobs?

McGrath -- on one plane you're right and maybe Nazis were a bad example, but many joined the party for a wide range of other reasons than what was being done to Jews and Gypsies. The Nazis were perceived by many as the saviours of Germany and champions of its "rightful" place in the world. The racial issues were secondary, often hardly considered. We know it was wrong, but from their perspective what they were doing was right and justified. If they had to lie a bit to get it done — well, that was a small price to pay....

Amnesty -- and any other advocacy group -- will eventually take on the same tactics. Sooner or later a leadership will take over whose blurring of the line between truth and expediency will necessitate lying and then lying to cover up the lying. Do they point to some legitimate evils? Yes. But the more evil they can find, the more they can convince people to donate to help them root it out and the more money they will have to find more evils.....

But it strikes me that this is a peripheral question. Amnesty -- as far as I know -- doesn't expend much energy and resources on countries that carry out legal executions. They tend to go after the ones resort to torture and making people "disappear."

cheers,

david


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: GUEST,Pict
Date: 20 Dec 03 - 01:36 AM

As I see it if you don't believe in redemption you believe in exemption.I believe that if a society can offer as many roads as possible to redemption,even for the most vile people,the possibility of positive interaction with others would be a powerful incentive for rehabilitation the option is punishment and permanent exclusion that doesn't seem to be very effective.

The 3 strikes and you're out rule that exists in at least one state in the US is outrageous in my opinion,there are people serving life for shoplifting 3 times and that kind of severity is born from a mindset that sees severe punishment as the best solution.Well no thanks I don't want to live in that kind of a society and I don't want anyone else to have to live in that kind of a society.

The governments we have now are essentially penal in their outlook they disenfranchise those who commit offences against their society,even after a period of incarceration these people are excluded from many fields of employment in effect they are given the mark of Cain.I believe that the truly dangerous individuals should be kept in secure mental institutions and given treatment for their conditions with an emphasis to cure and rehabilitation if at all possible and if that is impossible they should be provided with the best lives possible under the circumstances.A society that behaved in this way would have nothing on its conscience.

If you are denied the right to harmony with others then you are condemned to a life of surreptition,dissent,and strife against the society you are forced to be part of but kept apart from.

I believe that empathy is something that society should cultivate.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 20 Dec 03 - 04:33 AM

1. DtG Oh, that's OK then. I guess that excuses the Iraqi judges deciding they needed protecting against the Kurds or the German SS deciding it was for the good of society that they Jews had to go?

2. ddw bad examples. Neither the Iraqis nor the Nazis followed due process in their mass killing of Kurds and Jews.

3. ddw The Nazis were perceived by many as the saviours of Germany and champions of its "rightful" place in the world. The racial issues were secondary, often hardly considered.

Is it me or is there some conflict of argument somewhere;-)

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 20 Dec 03 - 06:34 AM

"Amnesty -- as far as I know -- doesn't expend much energy and resources on countries that carry out legal executions. They tend to go after the ones resort to torture and making people "disappear."

And that is what you are complaining about, ddw?


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: GUEST,ponderin'
Date: 20 Dec 03 - 07:02 AM

Any argument that aims to draw an analogy between Amnesty and the Nazis, is in my opinion in extremely poor taste.

Amnesty are responsible for many, many good works. And the suggestion that they exist to keep people in jobs, is hovering between the ridiculous and insulting.

But then again ddw you will hopefully never find yourself in a position, where you are being persecuted for your beliefs,instead you can express them in a civilised forum, so what does it matter eh?


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Two_bears
Date: 20 Dec 03 - 07:34 AM

>the state should not be allowed to commit murder. that's what the
>death penalty is, murder premeditated. if you say you are a
>christian and you support the death penalty you are not really a
>christian. horrible crimes are, have been and will always be
>committed and will not be deterred by a death penalty. a civilized
>and moral society rejects revenge murder and pays the price to
>remove these people and lock them away. those who would support >revenge murder are no better than the criminal. period

This is going to be fun. ;-)

Putting a convicted murderer to death is NOT murder. It is justice for the victims, and some dimwit psychologist of Judge can not let him or her go out to murder more people.

Since you bring "christianity" into the mix; I am NOT "christian" I am a devout pagan.

Did not the young carpenter (a man's teachings I admire). It's a darn shame that "christians" no longer follow the religion of Jesus, and now follow the religion about Jesus, and worship him as Deity.

Did not Jesus say to render unto Ceasar the things that are Ceasars? Sometimes; society has to put these evil people to death to protect society from them.

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

I will not intentionaly kill a fly; but flies are not evil. I would be happy to give these evil people the injection that would end their life, or kill them in a firing squad.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: GUEST,Ponderin'
Date: 20 Dec 03 - 08:19 AM

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


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 20 Dec 03 - 08:43 AM

I cannot realy understand the argument 'They have killed someone so they must die'. I am, if you had not gathered, anti capital punishment anyway but to say it is justice for their victims is an alien concept to me. The victims are dead. What do they care?

To take the punishment to fit the crime scanario to it's ultimate conclusion. Murderers are killed. Thieves have their possesions taken. Drug dealers have drugs supplied to them? What happens to prostitutes...

The mind boggles.

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Bobert
Date: 20 Dec 03 - 09:28 AM

Two Bears:

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 category, and know many others, including mnay folks here, who have also made it into the New Testament.

"Render onto Ceasar" is not about lethal injections. It's about sharing a portion of the fruits of one's labor with one's community...

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

The cornerstone of Christianty is forgiveness, not only from God, but between men. There's no fine print in Jesus's teachings. This does 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.

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 nuthing more than right wing indoctrination centers. It needs to get its head out of the Old Testamant and start teaching the word and spirit of Jesus Christ and act as a Christian nation. If it would do that both domesticly and internationally it could indeed lead this world to a calmer and more *civil*ized place.

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

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 20 Dec 03 - 10:08 AM

Actually "render unto Caesar" is a brilliant way of escaping from a corner they were trying to box him into. "Should we pay Roman Taxes?" - answer "No", and he can be denonunced to the occupying authorities, answer "Yes" and he's a collaborator and a traitor in the eyes of all those who hate the oppcupation.

"Whose head is on the coins? Caesar's - well, if you use his coins, pay his taxes" escapes the trap.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: GUEST,Ponderin'
Date: 20 Dec 03 - 10:11 AM

I meant what comfort could be given to the family of the wrongly executed person, if he/she was posthumously pardoned.

Sorry, may not have made that clear.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: ddw
Date: 20 Dec 03 - 10:29 AM

DtG — I don't see the conflict. Maybe I didn't express myself as clearly as I thought, but the gist of what you quoted spoke to two different questions. The first, I think, is pretty straightforward and addresses your own post.

The second ws referring to the reasons people supported the Nazis at first. Hitler and Co. argued that Germany had a right to be free of the draconian measures imposed on them by the Allies (principally Russia and France) after WWI. They had enough justification for that to make a lot of people, who didn't stop to consider all he other stuff — he hatred and racism — they were spewing. You know as well as I do that people have very selective perceptions in political, social and religious movements. Most make up their minds first and the accept as fact only what shores up their preconceived notions.

To your later post: "What do the victims care?" They don't, but their loved ones and others in society do. By your logic, why should be have funerals? The guest of honor certainly doesn't care.
As for your crime/punishment pairings, I have some difficulty equating prostitutes with murderers, thieves and drug dealers on a moral plane. I think there may be both qualitative and quantitative differences in how much they harm society.

McGrath — I wasn't complaining about anything. Just countering an earlier post that held Amnesty out as a source of information and pointoug out they don't comment on the issue at hand.

Ponderin' — Taste has nothing to do with it. I was pointing out that two organizations — ostensibly at opposite ends of the moral/ethical spectrum — share some traits and enjoy(ed) positive perceptions by their respective publics.
And BTW — you know next to nothing about my life experience, so your crack about my beliefs and people's reactions to them is patently absurd. Maybe even in extremely poor taste.

cheers,

david


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 20 Dec 03 - 11:10 AM

I think there may be both qualitative and quantitative differences in how much they harm society.

Exactly. All crime is not equal so not all punishemnt can be equal. But, as I keep saying, no-one but no-one can see the whole picture and cannot, therefore, decide whether death is a suitable punishment or not. The only alternative must be, therefore, that the death penalty be removed from the list of options as it is the only one which is completely irreversible!

So, what do I mean by the whole picture? I would rather not dwell on speculative scanarios but what if a murderers victim, had he lived, turned into a mass killer himself? Has the killer of that mass murderer do society good? I think so.

But let us not get too academic. Let us look at two real cases here. Shall we say Timothy McVeigh and Patrick Magee. I am sure you are aware of McVeighs crime but how about Magee? Well, Magee was released in 1999 after serving 14 years in prison for his part in the Brighton Bombings in which a lot of people died.

How are these two different? If both were tried together in your judiciary they would both have died. Do you think this is right? I am afraid that, although I have no IRA symapthies, I do not think Magee should have died. Nor do I think McVeigh should. Everyone should get equal treatment. Surely, that is the fairest method isn't it? Magee, btw, was released because of changing attitues. What will happen when someone finds that McVeigh was also a 'freedom fighter'. Will changing attitudes resurect him. I think not.

I think at the end of the day I will not convince anyone my views are right. Perhaps they are not? But at least I can, hopefuly, prove to someone that my anti death sentence views are based on justice and logic. Not on some misguided sense of either outrage for the victim or pity for the perpetrator! And I find that, because I have reasoned it out with myself, I am not very likely to be swayed either!

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: John Hardly
Date: 20 Dec 03 - 11:55 AM

"...as it is the only one which is completely irreversible!"

Au contrere.

Time served is just as irreversible.

If the premise is that justice cannot reasonably be served, then punishment cannot to any greater degree be meted.

The idea is to improve justice, and make it more responsible, not make all judgements tempered by the possibility (however likely or un) that a mistake could be made.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 20 Dec 03 - 12:05 PM

Time served is just as irreversible.

Touche JH! Very good point;-)

I like the idea of improving justice myself. Perhaps we are just approaching it from different angles?

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: BS: ?
From: JedMarum
Date: 20 Dec 03 - 12:12 PM

Capital Punishment is a rite - it is a ritual action - it is a secular sacriment. It is not a deternet. It has a small (but not meaningless) impact on the future damage that criminal might cause. It is not an action that represents fair and balanced logic, aside from its retribution effect - but in a society that values that retribution, it has a positive result.

Some reasonable people believe that logic says, "if we wish to be just and rule out killing, then we should not kill, when we punish." But in the US today our society, through its laws say, "certain cases of unlawful killing will be punished by execution." What keeps this law on our books is the feeling of a significant majority within our society - that some crimes cross the line of acceptable behavior and that these crimals should receive the ultimate punishment. It is not an act aimed at the criminal as much as it is aimed at the living ... we have treated this horrible deed doer with the ultimate.

In a society, we define, we place values on things like our own existence. We define when life starts and ends, and of course now-a-days with technology advances, those definitions take on new boundaries, so there's some arguing around the new definitions ...


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Amos
Date: 20 Dec 03 - 12:54 PM

Lawful killing is a terrible concept in the hands of dramatically uncompassionate individuals such as GW Bush, who is probably responsible for more lawful killings of Americans than any other leader since LBJ. Let's round up some young men and send them off for lawful killing, eh? And his governancy was also record-setting in lawful killings.

The arrogance!


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: JedMarum
Date: 20 Dec 03 - 01:00 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.

Most people believe that there are just wars, and killing must happen in war. Most people accept that self-defense is a just cause for killing - as is protection of your family - many believe protection of property can be just cause for killing - many of us will need to decide whether or not to terminate a pregnancy - or "pull the plug" on a parent, child or spouse. These are all conditions that most of us believe are conditions where killing is an acceptable, justifiable act.

I say the argument is not over whether or not it is acceptable to kill - but under what circumstances it is acceptable to kill. If a society says that under certain criminal codes, capital punishment is OK - then that society is defining those circumstances.

We can argue about whether or not society should define capital punishment as OK - but I'm afraid the majority will rule, on that arguement. And has, in the US.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: GUEST,Frank
Date: 20 Dec 03 - 01:09 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.
There is always a chance that the murderer within the confines of
prison will be able to use his life for something constructive.

There is an idea in psychology that the death penalty may offer
a better reward for a killer who often is suicidal anyway. Life imprisonment forces the killer to face the problem and not avoid it
by dying. Recidivism has no meaning if the death penalty becomes a solution rather than a transforming experience for the killer.

Frank


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Amos
Date: 20 Dec 03 - 01:12 PM

It seems to me that the only reason lawful killing has ever evolved as a concept is because of the volume of unlawful killing in which humans engage. We've spent huge amounts of money figuring out how to kill more people faster. It is a great shame and an embarrassment to humanity, IMHO. But some folks just espouse it as a natural side effect of living in a tooth and claw world, which is of course a self-fulfilling assertion.

Tooth and claw works very well for those organisms that can't come up with something better, but I have never noticed that we were among those crippled species... We have demonstrated that we ARE capable of something better.

Wonder why we don't exercise that ability?


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: John Hardly
Date: 20 Dec 03 - 01:31 PM

"Tooth and claw works very well for those organisms that can't come up with something better, but I have never noticed that we were among those crippled species... We have demonstrated that we ARE capable of something better."

Oh, really?

I'm confused. When, exactly, are we animals (unable to control our urges) and when are we this mythical near-divine that this thread seems to think us capable of?


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 20 Dec 03 - 02:00 PM

"I wasn't complaining about anything."

"I have dealt with hundreds of people over the years who will lie through their teeth (and sometimes even believe their own lies) to further their own causes. Amnesty, for all its claim to be on the moral high road, is just as guilty of that as the next bunch of do-gooders."

Somehow I read that as meaning that you had some kind of complaint against Amnesty, ddw. Unfair of me, I suppose.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Peace
Date: 20 Dec 03 - 02:13 PM

ddw: You are mistaken. The technology in two of those cases wasn't the issue. It was the mishandling of evidence by the authorities. New trials cleared all three men. Technology helped in one case.

Bruce

PS This is re your Dec 19 comment.


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: ddw
Date: 20 Dec 03 - 04:13 PM

DtG -- You'll have a hard time convincing me your view is either just or logical. By your "equal treatment" logic, a kid who takes candy from another kid and a bank robber should be treated equally or a worker who steals from his employer's petty cash drawer and an inside trader who skims millions are equally guilty and should be punished equally. Justice requires that all the circumstances be taken into account. That's why judges often require presentance reports, psychiatric reports, character witness and/or victim impact statements and only then apply the three principles of sentencing — deterrence,retribution and rehabilitation. When all the past history (either previous convictions or a pattern of heinous crimes) indicates there is no chance of rehabilitation, all that's left is deterrence and retribution. The death penalty may not -- some argue it absolutely does not -- provide any deterrence (that's to others, not the accused), then its only function is retribution. Which is still a worthwhile goal, in my opinion.

And I find that, because I have reasoned it out with myself, I am not very likely to be swayed either!
Should we be awed by such perfect reasoning....?


John Hardly — Eloquently stated. Unfortunately, Canada still doesn't see fit to honor it's electorate's wishes.

Frank — Yes, the death penalty is retribution, even revenge. I have no problem with that. It also keeps the felon from further harming society. Another plus, in my estimation. And yes, it might also be a form of suicide. If he wants that, let him have it, especially if he has taken innocent victims' lives as a means to his own end. There's a pretty widely recognized phenomenon called "suicide by cop" in which a person wants to die, but can't muster the courage or resolve to do it himself, so he forces a police officer to do it for him. Same thing.

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.....


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: ddw
Date: 20 Dec 03 - 04:19 PM

Brucie -- I'm aware that the mishandling of evidence was the problem in the Milgaard and Marshall cases -- and as I said, I'm not familiar with the other one. But that's not the point I was making. If the technology we have today had been available in those two cases, there probably wouldn't have been convictions in the first place.

Amos -- I wish I had your faith. The fact that we can intellectually "come up with something better" and then, every time, revert to killing just may be a sign that the "something better" has no substance, but should be put in the category of "wishful thinking."

cheers,

david


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Gareth
Date: 20 Dec 03 - 04:33 PM

Hmmm ! - During Englands days of the "Bloody Code" when just about anything could result in dancing the "Newgate/Tyburn Jig is seem to remember two consequences -

1/. A free jury, could and did on occasions refuse to convict.

2/. The commutation of death sentances to transportation as an alternative was very frequent. (This was an alternative Amos)

What can be said was that the "Bloody Code" did not deter sheep stealing, Robery on the Highway, forgery etc.

Tho it might have some bearing on the population of Australia.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Don Firth
Date: 20 Dec 03 - 04:46 PM

David, you may regard what Amos said as "wishful thinking," but it strikes me that if humankind doesn't strive for something better, at the rate we're going, the whole species is circling the drain. And that striving is not just the responsiblity of humankind in the abstract, it is the everyday responsibility of each individual.

It doesn't look too promising, I know. But let me tell you a fable:--

A little sparrow was walking along one day looking for bugs and worms when a procession of fowl went rushing past him, crying (Doug will love this!), "The sky is falling! The sky is falling!" The little sparrow flipped over on his back with his feet in the air. Turkey Lurkey looked at the sparrow and said, "What are you doing?" The sparrow responded, "If the sky falls, I'm going to try to hold it up." "Don't be ridiculous!" said Turkey Lurkey. "You can't hold up the sky with those spindly little legs of yours!" "Maybe not," said the sparrow, "but one must do what one can!"

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 20 Dec 03 - 04:58 PM

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


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: ddw
Date: 20 Dec 03 - 05:39 PM

Don — I spent a couple of years trying to get universiy students to want to help save the world. Gave that up as a lost cause and then spent 30 years as a journalist trying to get the public to notice what was happening to them and the people around them. Finally gave that up as a lost cause too. I figure that's about all the "holding up the sky" I'm willing to do. From now on I'm going to spend as much time as I can having fun, enjoying my friends and family, playing music and not really caring much what the rest of society does as long as it doesn't bother me and mine.

Cynical? You bet your ass. I've seen -- up close -- just about every rotten thing one human can do to another. I don't like it, but I've accepted the fact that I can't do much about it, so I'm not willing to waste my time and energy any more. I view it as a survival technique.....

cheers,

david


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Amos
Date: 20 Dec 03 - 05:40 PM

It seems obvious, comparing our social inventions of today with those of a thousand or two thousand years ago, that we DO come up with betterment. The obvious examples are the Magna Carta and the Consitution of the United States and its Bill of Rights, just for starters. The United Nations is better than the chaos of empires which preceded it in spite of the hiccoughs and failures. The concept of a World Court was unthinkable in the 15th century. We discover principles and ways to implement them and ways which do NOT work. It is all grist for the great mill of understanding, as long as the will to understand is kept alive.

That's my opinion.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 20 Dec 03 - 05:52 PM

Should we be awed by such perfect reasoning....?

Perhaps not, but we should at least listen to what other people think. At least the UK, Europe and most of the US have. The countries and states who have the death penalty are in the minority. Along with those who argue for it, I'm glad to say:-)

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: ddw
Date: 20 Dec 03 - 05:58 PM

Amos,

I'd love to meet your priest or rabbi -- or at least get my hands on some of what you're smoking.....

Yeah, we've made a little progress in social structures. But if you look at what's happening in the Balkins, the Middle East and lots of other places around the world, it might occur to you that 1) the UN is pretty damned ineffectural and 2) 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.

If I've learned anything in my lifetime, it's that you can never over-estimate mankind's greed and stupidity.

Progress? I'd love to believe it, but I just can't.....

cheers,

david


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

And, ddw, you still have not told us if you would have killed Patrick Magee.

Simple question. Not rhetorical or academic. Would you?

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: ddw
Date: 20 Dec 03 - 06:04 PM

DtG -- But that ain't necessarily so. In Canada at least -- and I would suspect in some other jurisdictions as well -- the public wants the death penalty reinstated. They tried life without it and decided they didn't like it. But now the politicians won't honor their wishes and to most people the issue isn't important enough to turf a politician who won't but does other things they like.

cheers,

david


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 20 Dec 03 - 06:11 PM

Oh, and

Cynical? You bet your ass. I've seen -- up close -- just about every rotten thing one human can do to another. I don't like it, but I've accepted the fact that I can't do much about it, so I'm not willing to waste my time and energy any more

Is this the same ddw who argues so elequently for capital punishment?

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Amos
Date: 20 Dec 03 - 06:24 PM

Well we all have our personal bruises that make us look cross-eyed at the world. But the facts remain that over the long term, and the large scale, we work out betterments, as long as we keep experimenting.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: ddw
Date: 20 Dec 03 - 06:24 PM

DtG -- not avoiding the question; I simply don't know enough about the case to answer it. I've sat through literally thousands of trials and I wouldn't begin to call a verdict based on anything except my own reading of the evidence.

As a reporter I saw acquittals, dismissals at preliminary hearings and convictions I didn't think were justified. I watched judges sleep through portions of evidence and then make mistakes in charging the jury because they had missed something crucial. That was later sorted out on appeal. I have also seen juries "correct" a judge's misconceptions and I've seen judges ignore jury recommendations. The first day I ever spent covering courts one judge sentenced a repeat-offender rapist to seven years in penitentiary and then give exactly the same sentence to a gay bodybuilder who had spent most of his life in jail exactly the same amount of time for flipping a pool table and then threatening a store clerk with a knife when he was too drunk to walk, let along get to the victim.

The point is, I don't accept anybody's assessment of what happens in a particular court case -- not yours or Amnesty International's or anybody else's -- if I haven't hear ALL the evidence. That's not a personal slight, just a position based on a lot of experience....

cheers,

david


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: Bill D
Date: 20 Dec 03 - 06:28 PM

It is worth considering what all the differences of opinion on matters like this mean. Obviously, there is no consensus on whether society is better served by the death penalty. It seems to me that it is a very social/cultural decision.

Once, the death penalty was common in many countries, and was meted out for a whole array of 'crimes'. In many places, it still is. There was a story today from Iraq about former Baath party members being systematically hunted down and executed by vigilantes...sometimes for direct crimes, sometimes for just supporting Saddam's regimé.

"We are an Eastern, tribal society with the principle of vengeance. Revenge will be exacted," said Maj. Abbas Abed Ali of the Baya police station in southwest Baghdad."

   So...is it "ok" because Iraq is such a society? What about Saudi Arabia? And does that mean that Texas can claim that their history and culture makes it different than some state like Oregon? How do we argue with Texans, most of whom who claim to be good "Christians", but support executions?

It has been argued that simple practicality is relevant. If it costs 'X' dollars to try and execute, with all the appeals, and 'Y' dollars to try and incarcerate for 30-40 years, why not set a formula? Perhaps a criminal who is deemed not likely to repeat his offense should be allowed to buy his freedom to save the taxpayers money?.....Sure can get complex, huh?

The only REAL argument I have seen here against capital punishment is that we 'might' make a mistake. This is a real issue with modern forensics and DNA techniques. Even states which support capital punishment are now having to real with the awkwardness of discovering they executed the wrong person.

If crime and prison populations keep rising, I suspect that societal attitudes WILL change to cope with the problem of continuously building more prisons and spending money on the criminals that could go to help their victims or their families. Does this seem capricious to those of you who oppose murder of ANY kind?......well, what about crime prevention? What if you had heard those 19 young Muslims planning to hijack those 4 planes and had a gun with you...or knew where there was a offical with a gun....is 'murder' to prevent atrocities ok, while 'murder' to punish is not? ...It simply is NOT an issue which has one, simple, general, unambiguous, universal answer!

This issue is ultimately no different than abortion or vegetarianism or whether to spank your children...it CANNOT be argued except from a set of principles.... which vary widely in different cultures and religions.

What would *I* do? I would restrict the death penalty to cases where guilt was not the issue, as in confessions, being 'caught in the act', or in such cases as the DC snipers, where evidence is so overwhelming that there was no doubt. Mental illness? Well, if a human being is so mentally ill that they CANNOT comprehend what they have done, like that delusional man who killed two guards at the U.S. Capitol building, then I would question what we might accomplish by working for years to get them 'sane' enough to try.

There is a concept used in the military and places like the CIA in which some executions/asassinations are carried out 'without prejudice'...that is, the target is 'removed' (yeah...killed) because it is deemed best for the general good. I am QUITE aware that this is an easily abused idea, but I am sort of predicting that, in the future, the basic concept will be used more & more and gradually worked into the legal system...........do I support & agree with this? I truly don't know yet....I hate the IDEA of a society reduced to that position, but I guess MY ox hasen't been gored bad enough yet.











A)bort, R)etry, I)gnore, V)alium?


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Subject: RE: BS: Capital Punishment?
From: ddw
Date: 20 Dec 03 - 06:29 PM

DtG — I don't understand your question.

david


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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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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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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 - 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: 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: 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: 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: 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 - 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: 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: 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: 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 - 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: 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: 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 - 07:12 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: 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: 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: 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 - 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: 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 - 08:54 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 - 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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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