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happy? – Nov 9 (UK death penalty)

Abby Sale 09 Nov 05 - 07:56 AM
Paul Burke 09 Nov 05 - 08:33 AM
Big Al Whittle 09 Nov 05 - 04:37 PM
alanabit 10 Nov 05 - 03:00 AM
Liz the Squeak 10 Nov 05 - 04:55 AM
Abby Sale 10 Nov 05 - 08:59 AM
Big Al Whittle 10 Nov 05 - 09:18 AM
alanabit 10 Nov 05 - 09:27 AM
Paul Burke 10 Nov 05 - 10:49 AM
Wolfgang 10 Nov 05 - 11:37 AM
Les in Chorlton 10 Nov 05 - 12:13 PM
Big Al Whittle 10 Nov 05 - 07:21 PM
GUEST,. 10 Nov 05 - 09:47 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 11 Nov 05 - 12:10 AM
Abby Sale 11 Nov 05 - 07:45 AM
alanabit 11 Nov 05 - 10:49 AM
Abby Sale 11 Nov 05 - 04:54 PM
Big Al Whittle 12 Nov 05 - 03:46 AM
alanabit 12 Nov 05 - 05:07 AM
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Subject: happy? – Nov 9 (UK death penalty)
From: Abby Sale
Date: 09 Nov 05 - 07:56 AM

We understand that the UK death penalty has come and gone in several stages. It is said that MacColl's song played a significant part in the UK's moratorium banning it 11/9/1965 (ie, temporarily abolished capital punishment for all offences, except treason, piracy with violence and arson in Royal Dockyards).

If so, this would be one of the rare cases in which a protest song had a direct effect. Irwin Silber, who has gone into these things as much as any, has persuasively written that these songs may mightily encourage the committed but have little, if any, effect on the uncommitted.

        They sent Tim Evans to the drop
        For a crime he did not do.
        It was Christy was the murderer
        And the judge and jury too.
         Sayin', "Go down, you murderers, go down."

                "Ballad of Tim Evans" (aka "Go Down, You Murderers"), Ewan MacColl; 1953

The Trial of Timothy Evans

The death penalty ban was made permanent for murder 12/18/1969, in non-war by the EU in 1998 and totally abolished in 2002.

Copyright © 2005, Abby Sale - all rights reserved
What are Happy's all about? See Clicky


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Subject: RE: happy? – Nov 9 (UK death penalty)
From: Paul Burke
Date: 09 Nov 05 - 08:33 AM

Why isn't this a Happy!!!! ?


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Subject: RE: happy? – Nov 9 (UK death penalty)
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 09 Nov 05 - 04:37 PM

I don't suppose anybody heard of Ewan's song very much. I can remember vaguely at the time a Sunday paper saying it was sick and in bad taste - rather like hanging itself. I'm a great Ewan MacColl fan, but I don't think his songs did much to help matters in this case - although it was another voice saying a good thing - and theres never a bad time for that.

The abolition was done against the wishes of the English people. Damn good job too. There would have been a lot of people wrongfully executed - just like Tim Evans. Particularly at the height of the IRA bombings.

The MPs were more aware, civilised, decent and middle class, and better educated than the people who voted for them. and there were some great abolitionist campaigners principally Sidney Silverman, who was widely respected and everybody listened to him. Anyway that's the way I remember it.

Populists like Thatch went on baying for the return of the death penalty - even tho the first Irish terrorist executed would have produced such a howl of anguish from America that the IRA would have been better armed and financed that the British Army in no time. I think even now - after a particularly horrible murder like at Soham a couple of years ago - the ordinary people would probably want it back.

Luckily wiser counsels prevail


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Subject: RE: happy? – Nov 9 (UK death penalty)
From: alanabit
Date: 10 Nov 05 - 03:00 AM

It is one of those conundrum's which I can't really really resolve. I agree with all you wrote, WLD. It is one of those ironies of life, that we, who oppose capital punishment, very often also like to thik of ourselves as democrats. I am not trying to defend arbitrary decision making either. There do seem to be times though when wiser decisions are made against the wishes of the majority.


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Subject: RE: happy? – Nov 9 (UK death penalty)
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 10 Nov 05 - 04:55 AM

There's a bit in 'Lord of the Rings' which I was very happy to see quoted almost verbatim in the film where many other events were 'tweaked'.

Gandalf is talking to Frodo about Gollum and Frodo expresses the wish that Bilbo had killed Gollum when he had the chance. Gandalf replies thus:

"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." JRRT

LTS


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Subject: RE: happy? � Nov 9 (UK death penalty)
From: Abby Sale
Date: 10 Nov 05 - 08:59 AM

Paul,

It's not the "joyousness" factor the determines this. It's more mundane - and simpler. Please see the Clicky referenced above.

As to execution, it's one of the many things I gave up having any opinion at all about as I got older. What started me thikning hard about it was Malcolm X. A truly great man who spoke in favor of it. He was well aware of the obvious - that African-Americans, especially "lower class" Afr-Amers were far overrepresented among those executed (and jailed).

He felt it was far kinder than 30 or 50 years incarceration.

One might react with the also obvious - thaat it would be better to address racism and social injustice first. But he was a pragmatist. He was speaking to the reality of Now which could be readdressed when long-term goals were closer to being reached.

Anyway, that got me thinking that this, like so many social issues, is far more complicated than any knee-jerk reaction can appreciate. So now, as I typed, I have no opinion.

I'm still thinking about it.


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Subject: RE: happy? – Nov 9 (UK death penalty)
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 10 Nov 05 - 09:18 AM

the kindness or otherwise is irrelevant in a way. except maybe there is too much unkindness in the world.

the point is that its bad for the rest of society. It teaches children that we solve problems by violence. It stimulates sadism in the population who spectate. It deters nobody - being a serial killer is virtually an alternative career choice in America. It leaves scars on families for generations. And it makes martyrs out of terrorists.

we need urgent research on why our societies are turning out so many of these oddball murderers. then whatever it is that we are doing wrong to produce them, we should stop.


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Subject: RE: happy? – Nov 9 (UK death penalty)
From: alanabit
Date: 10 Nov 05 - 09:27 AM

That is true of capital crime. I think it is true of any form of crime really.


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Subject: RE: happy? – Nov 9 (UK death penalty)
From: Paul Burke
Date: 10 Nov 05 - 10:49 AM

The typical life sentence in the UK is 15 years. That's bad enough, if the guy turns out to have been innocent. It gives us a chance to make some sort of compensation (though this isn't always done). But you can't possibly know his feelings, say sorry, or compensate if he's dead.

The UK prison service is bad, and getting worse. The US one appears to be a nightmare, the kind of disgrace that got Turkey its bad name back in the 70s. It might be no coincidence that the prison service here is being gradually privatised, and that many of the private firms involved are also major players in the US prison "market".


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Subject: RE: happy? – Nov 9 (UK death penalty)
From: Wolfgang
Date: 10 Nov 05 - 11:37 AM

And it makes martyrs out of terrorists.

WLD, I don't believe that argument to be valid. None of the Nazi criminals executed became a martyr. None. The only one who became a martyr for the neonazis (and brings yearly neonazi demonstrations into the little village with his grave) is Rudolf Hess who was sentenced to life imprisonment and served for life until his suicide at the age of 93, more than 40 years after the sentence.

Don't misunderstand me, I'm against capital punishment, I just do not believe that particular argument to be true. In my mind I already hear the slogan "Free Osama" (or whoever) of a sustained campaign.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: happy? – Nov 9 (UK death penalty)
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 10 Nov 05 - 12:13 PM

I cannot find a moral position for the state if the state retains the right to go to war and kill people.

It just seems, as others have pointed out above, that we cannt make the innocent undead.


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Subject: RE: happy? – Nov 9 (UK death penalty)
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 10 Nov 05 - 07:21 PM

no that's true about the Nazis, and I guess there aren't too many ballads comemorating John Wilkes Booth, lee Harvey Oswald.

Its largely a matter of luck, and how people perceive you. i remember talking to Barrie Roberts about this one night about 30 years back.

Barrie knew Keating's Bush Ballads pretty well and he was expounding on why some Australian bushrangers got sung about and some didn't. Barry said one of them (I think it was Morgan) got few songs because people thought he was a psychopath. And there was a shudder factor every time people though of him. Maybe that's how it is with the Nazis.

You could equally say about the same about the guys who got shot at Kilmainham. Pearse and Connolly and the guy who married Grace all got songs - But I can't think of many others. I guess it was because a lot of their work was secret in nature, whereas people could identify - either because Pearse and Connolly had public personas - and people could get to know them posthumously through their writing, or maybe because a lot of people get married and - and they could speculate what it would be like getting married in those circumstances. I suppose people want to identify with the condemned man. either for reasons of compassion, or maybe for reasons of a vicarious thrill.


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Subject: RE: happy? – Nov 9 (UK death penalty)
From: GUEST,.
Date: 10 Nov 05 - 09:47 PM


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Subject: RE: happy? – Nov 9 (UK death penalty)
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 11 Nov 05 - 12:10 AM

My dearest Mr. Sale.

Sincerely happy to see your pieces each day on the MC.

This one particularly tickeled my fancy, since I am actively seeking a hearse for my everyday car. Several friends have said they will refuse to ride in it. This is a positive good; one can support only so many leaches before they suck you dry. It is also an excellent and secure vehicle to carry ampliphiers etc.

Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: happy? – Nov 9 (UK death penalty)
From: Abby Sale
Date: 11 Nov 05 - 07:45 AM

It use to was you could buy an old ambulance and paint it black - they were the same car. Fitting, too. But I don't think that's true anymore. I've been told the engine should be carefully checked - the vehicle may have been driven too slowly for too long.

Last I heard, having capital punishment or not has little effect on the murder rate.


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Subject: RE: happy? – Nov 9 (UK death penalty)
From: alanabit
Date: 11 Nov 05 - 10:49 AM

Well, Abby, it has quite an effect on the careers of individual murderers. That is probably its main attraction - the extremely low rate of recidivism, when it is applied. However, that is not the only factor to be born in mind, which is why I find myself on the side of its opponents.


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Subject: RE: happy? – Nov 9 (UK death penalty)
From: Abby Sale
Date: 11 Nov 05 - 04:54 PM

:-)


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Subject: RE: happy? – Nov 9 (UK death penalty)
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 12 Nov 05 - 03:46 AM

I dunno Al. about less recidivism. the footage of Ted Bundy - obviously in his own mind a media star, as he strutted around the coutroom, must have stirred the hearts and morbid imaginations of a thousand copycat wannabes

Theres a line in the Judge Roy Bean film where Paul Newman says the gallows is 'the outlaws path to glory'.

when we re-tell the history of our nations. so much of the time we concentrate on the murderous and violent episodes - look how many artists have been drawn to the themes of Mary Queen of Scots, how many time Charles Ist's last few minutes on the scaffold, have been re-enacted for film, opera, tv drama, etc. Its as if there is a base desire in all of us for the sensual thrill of violence - and if we're lucky it's not too much to the fore, and such productions cater for it.

The Death penalty offers the big production where the felon is guaranteed a starring role. Perhaps one reason we, as performers love the form of the murder ballad so much is that our craving for attention is not too dissimilar to what gets the delinquent heart racing with excitement - and we can empathise!


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Subject: RE: happy? – Nov 9 (UK death penalty)
From: alanabit
Date: 12 Nov 05 - 05:07 AM

You have a point Big Al. We are a lovely lot, aren't we!


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