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  #1    
Old November 5th, 2013 (10:10 PM).
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Capital Punishment, a.k.a. Death Penalty, is arguably not only the highest form of punishment, but also one of the most heated topics up for debate.

Inevitable question now is, Are you for or against Capital Punishment? Why or why not?
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Old November 6th, 2013 (12:41 AM).
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Provided the crime warrants the punishment, it's the perfect oppurtunity for human testing. This is obviously a bit controversial. But we test on innocent rats. Why is someone being sentenced to death still worth man than a rat?
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Old November 6th, 2013 (3:50 AM).
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Against. An enlightened society does not revert to barbarism to punish those convicted of crimes. Thievery was once punished by cutting off the hands of the thief. We as a socety no longer do this because we recognize it as cruel punishment. Likewise with capital punishment. This has been illegal in Canada for decades and I believe we are a better nation for it. Capital punishment is all about retribution and not about punishment, for capital punishment is actually a release from responsibility. Once you are dead you can't exactly be held responsible for your crimes.
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Old November 6th, 2013 (4:21 AM).
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For, but only for the crime of murder (especially serial killers) If you deliberately and with pre-meditation take the life of another human being in cold blood then I believe your life should be forfeit. The idea that people with multiple life sentences can enjoy a rather comfy life at taxpayers expense inside prison for decades is not agreeable to me. That is unless they're willing to do hard work on the inside to firstly compensate the victims, then to provide usefulness to society.

It all depends as to whether you see lengthy prison time as a harsh enough punishment for the most heinous crimes. I don't think it is, not for some, especially psychopaths who don't show remorse.

Prison sentences are WAY too lenient in Australia, someone that used to go to my school killed a man by punching him in the head and it was mentioned they only got three years (unconfirmed.)
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Old November 6th, 2013 (4:30 AM).
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For those who are for capital punishment, how to do ensure with 100% certainty that the person you are condemning to death is responsible for the crime? The criminal justice system is perfect, no matter where you live. There have been plenty of cases shown where an innocent person was sentenced to death for a crime they did not commit. Some of them, luckily, were discovered to be not guilty before they could be put to death. Others, however, were not so lucky. And so an innocent person was killed by the state while the real perpetrator of the crime was not held to account for his or her actions. Seems to me, morally speaking, the only way you can even remotely justify capital punishment is if you can also guarantee with 100% accuracy that only the guilty person will be sentenced to death.
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Old November 6th, 2013 (4:46 AM).
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Against. Capital punishment does not solve anything, it only adds another murder to the world. It's not a solution, it's just revenge. It feels good but is ultimately unhelpful. Just because someone is a prisoner doesn't mean that they should have their rights stripped away. Prisoners are perhaps one of the most mistreated and stigmatized groups, and that's a real shame. They're still people, regardless of their actions.
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Old November 6th, 2013 (7:44 AM).
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Well, I'm against jailtime.

What IF the person was innocent? It would take them 20 or so years ATLEAST for anyone to reopen the case and get them out of there - and their life has already been ruined.

What if the person was guilty? Well, now they get a roof over their head and food on the table - all for free. They can "go out and play" and, well, pretty much do anything they want, honestly. They're living a life of leisure.

I believe in poetic justice / vengeance - "eye for an eye". If killing the person in the same way they killed others will give them the same amount of pain and misery, then do it. If not, find other ways to punish them equal to their crime.


Also, Jay, the UAE still cuts off hands and they AREN'T barbaric. In fact, they desire peace and prosperity, prefer learning to incompetence, and seek to make their populace happy - whether naturally born or immigrated.

They still cut off hands because it's an excellent way to get the thief to NOT STEAL AGAIN.
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Old November 6th, 2013 (7:57 AM).
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Well, I'm against jailtime.

What IF the person was innocent? It would take them 20 or so years ATLEAST for anyone to reopen the case and get them out of there - and their life has already been ruined.
A significant part of their life has been robbed of them, I agree, but at least the opportunity exists for them to enjoy freedom once again once exonerated. With the death penalty, even if the were to eventually be deemed innocent of the crime, their being dead precludes them from any opportunity to rebuild their life. Because they would be dead.

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What if the person was guilty? Well, now they get a roof over their head and food on the table - all for free. They can "go out and play" and, well, pretty much do anything they want, honestly. They're living a life of leisure.
You think convicted criminals sentenced to prison are living the life of leisure? I've heard this so many times it makes me sick, because it always comes from people who have exactly zero understanding of what exactly goes on in prison. I really think you need to experience what these prisoners go through on a daily basis to understand how wrong you are. I challenge you to visit a jail and talk to these people. I guarantee you the horror stories you will hear will be enough to make you want to vomit violently.

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I believe in poetic justice / vengeance - "eye for an eye". If killing the person in the same way they killed others will give them the same amount of pain and misery, then do it. If not, find other ways to punish them equal to their crime.
Vengeance is not punishment. It is not justice. It is simply a selfish need to see someone victimized for their actions. Nothing is learned from vengeance. It does mollify feelings on any side. It simply makes a bad situation worse. Punishment, true punishment, is something that forces someone convicted of a crime to reflect upon what they have done and provide them with the change to alter their ways. We call this rehabilitation. Your view of Justice precludes any chance of rehabilitation and redemption. It simply creates another victim for society to contend with.

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Also, Jay, the UAE still cuts off hands and they AREN'T barbaric. In fact, they desire peace and prosperity, prefer learning to incompetence, and seek to make their populace happy - whether naturally born or immigrated.

They still cut off hands because it's an excellent way to get the thief to NOT STEAL AGAIN.
I seriously hope you are not equating the UAE with a just and fair society. Their record on human rights is atrocious. The forced amputation of any part of the human body as a method of punishment is ENTIRELY barbaric. It is not reflective of a civilized society. All a punishment like that does is instills fear in the population. Not exactly a good thing for a country in which its population is controlled through fear. Nothing can come of it except hardship and violence.
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Old November 6th, 2013 (9:07 AM).
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Because the best way to demonstrate a higher moral authority, one that says killing is wrong, is to kill the killer back. Think about how much sense that makes.

Yes, the U.S. prison system is abhorrent and doesn't really rehabilitate the incarcerated. But I think using the failures of the prison system as justification for executing prisoners is flat out wrong - "Well, killing them is easier than fixing the prison system, let's go with that". That's whats really wrong.

Go watch some of Batman Begins, specifically the jabs over the ideological differences of revenge vs. justice between R'as Al Ghul and Bruce. R'as says justice is balance - "you burned my house and left me for dead. Consider us even." That's not justice. That is revenge. Capital punishment is essentially thinly veiled vengeance. Well, you killed a man, so now you're on death row, waiting to be killed yourself. That isn't justice. An eye for an eye leaves the world blind.
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Old November 6th, 2013 (9:17 AM).
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I believe a lot of people who believe in capital punishment don't believe in this simple truth: two wrongs don't make a right.
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Old November 6th, 2013 (11:14 AM).
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I find that usually capital punishment is often not the answer. Most of the time the prospect of it doesn't really intimidate or give an insane criminal enough pause to consider their actions. It doesn't correct anything, nor does it erase the deed that was done.

However, there are people who are indeed too dangerous to be released on their own recognizance. Provided that there's nothing medically wrong with them that we can treat; I think there are some limited scenarios where it may be permitted. I however do not believe that Capital Punishment should ever be the default sentence. Life in in prison without parole should be the heftiest sentence a Judge can hand down when initially being proven guilty.

Since life is usually fixed at 99 years in the USA, just check in every 33 years at most and informally reassess the criminal and the case with the current evidence and technology, and give any new evidence a try if it is indeed admissible. Good behavior can be rewarded after 33 and 66 years served by shaving years off, and well behaved prisoners can indeed be put to work doing some things so that they're paying for their stay, even if they don't merit a reduction in sentence or a retrying of their case.

I even believe that sometimes people can be speedily assessed every 1/5/10 years during their lifetime prison term for things like "Can we trust this prisoner enough to put him to work for society?". I feel like if someone is reformed; they can still be allowed to live somewhat of a productive lifestyle, still under the watchful eye of the prison system and be profitable enough to be of use to society.

Attempts to escape prison would be down if we make prison bearable for those in there for long periods of time; and give them ways to be productive. You don't need to lock down the ones who are behaved as hard. If they present a problem for too long, just confine them. You keep the lifetime staying criminals away from the ever-shifting general population of criminals in the prison who have shorter sentences.
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Old November 6th, 2013 (12:39 PM).
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I'm not against bad people being killed, per se, (self-defense, etc.) but when it's a government killing someone I think it's best to err on the side of caution (in case of corruption, mistakes, etc.). I don't believe in needless suffering and I feel like we need to accept that every person is human. To do otherwise is to start down a slippery slope, I feel.

Now, I know that for some people who have lost loved ones a killer's continued existence is sometimes said to be a cause of suffering. I don't want to dismiss that, but it's a situation in which justice, revenge, and pain are all potentially mixed together and like I said earlier, I think it's best to err on the side of caution. People do die, and that's sad, and it's even more sad when someone dies needlessly, but life needs to go on.
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Old November 6th, 2013 (12:41 PM).
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Vengeance IS justice - as I said, poetic justice. Which is, in itself, retributive justice.

You seem to favor restorative justice. However, this system doesn't work if the criminals DON'T reflect and DO NOT become "proper members of society". The majority of terrible things that happen in prisons happen because the guards torture the prisoners and let the prisoners torture each other. Normally, this creates psychological issues in the prisoners and turns them into criminals once they get out, even if they were innocent before.

Your idea of justice also isn't justice, by that train of thought. It's just sending people into the Lion's Den, then leaving, and never coming back to see what happened to them.

An eye for an eye places judgement upon the person equal to what they did - SO THAT they see how wrong their actions were, first-hand. THAT is what makes them reflect on their actions and not do them again.

--

And you speak bad about the UAE - have you ever been there? My mother has been there for quite some time. According to her, it is the most peaceful, nice, and well-regulated nation she's ever been to - and she's been to MANY. The citizens never have to worry about going bankrupt and feel no need to get weapons to protect themselves since crimes are the lowest in, perhaps, the entire world. Wanna know WHY that is? It's because that society uses poetic justice, is a monarchy with proper ruler, and operates under virtues of patience and selflessness.

That's something you don't get in the U.S. and most other countries - as those countries MUST operate under greed and stress in order for things to get done. You then CREATE menaces to societies by putting them in and taking them out of jail, which many criminals laugh at since it never makes them think over their actions. This nation also is ruled by representatives that WEREN'T raised from birth on how to rule properly and got recognized by their positions which they attained how? Oh right! By survival of the fittest - greed version!


You speak against poetic justice without even living in a society which uses it, claiming it barbaric while ignoring the barbarism of your own society, and speak of peace while not considering temperance. It's hypocrisy. Yes, I know poetic justice isn't perfect, but atleast it DOES make criminals reflect on their actions, while jailtime just plain doesn't.
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Old November 6th, 2013 (1:07 PM).
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Right, a bit of categorization would help us all out here methinks.

There are two aspects to the (il)legitimacy of capital punishment: the principle and the policy.

Examples of principle-based arguments against capital punishment would be (from the answers given by above posters): it doesn't solve anything, it's too barbaric, etc. These arguments are against the very concept of death penalty, regardless of how it is implemented.

Examples of policy-based arguments against capital punishment would be: it's difficult to ascertain the crime (if, on the other hand, someone argues that death penalty is unjustified because we can never be above reasonable doubt about murder under any circumstances, then it would become a principle-oriented argument), prison life for those to be punishable by death being very cruel, etc.

I'm more interested in the principle-orientedness, so will only talk about that.

I'm surprised no one brought up the "deterrent" argument (is it too politically incorrect? I have no idea). In its crudest sense, the dictum is that harsh punishments tend to scare off potential murderers, thus bringing the overall murder (or crime) rate down.

The possible defeaters I can think of:

1. It's a slippery slope. A valid worry, historically a lot of governments that adopted the deterrent argument did go overboard with it, killing people left and right. But that's a policy concern, more than a principle one. Secondly, if we can say that we are civilized enough to move on from "barbaric" types of punishment, why can't we say that we are civilized enough to move on from barbaric, over-the-top manipulations of punishments?

2. A civilized society wouldn't require such barbaric measures, since the social structure would be advanced enough to pre-emptively reduce crime rate. True, but that's not to say it cannot be complemented with a strong deterrent. In the case of such a society with a top-notch anti-crime social structure would have very low crime rate as is, which would render the capital punishment no more than a fear-factor. In fact, I can conceive of a society where capital punishment is rarely established, because the very concept of capital punishment is deterrent enough to lessen such crimes.

3. Statistics. I don't know of them, but perhaps people can cite cases where capital punishment failed to serve as a deterrent. In such cases, the penalty would seem utterly superfluous. I would argue such cases are failures at policy levels, not at principle levels. In terms of principle, capital punishment makes sense. So if the implementation is unsuccessful, something is probably wrong with the policy as opposed to the principle.

Argument for capital punishment.

Consider this: if you adopt a utilitarian concept of justice, then it would include the prospect of benefiting human persons or society. This serves as at least one of the premises for the deterrent argument: the punishment of one individual brings about the greater good of the society. I know "greater good" is a dangerous word, but I think our minds associate the danger of greater goods with it's slippery slope-ness. That possibility can be averted by adopting strict policies.

In the above discussion, I think I've been discounting the slippery slope argument way too fast. But I simply don't think such an appeal valid in the present case. I would love to be proved wrong, though.

Also, please don't address these by policy-based arguments. That would count as red herrings and I would ignore them.
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Old November 6th, 2013 (1:12 PM).
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The UAE punishes homosexuality with the death penalty. How is that poetic or just?

I mean, I agree with you to a point that the normal punishment of imprisonment isn't usually helpful to anyone in the long run since it can just create a more messed up person who will eventually be released and end up in jail again. That doesn't mean that we should punish each crime with the same crime the person committed (eye for an eye) since that may just outrage someone who knows the criminal to get their own justice.
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Old November 6th, 2013 (1:27 PM).
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scarf View Post
The UAE punishes homosexuality with the death penalty. How is that poetic or just?

I mean, I agree with you to a point that the normal punishment of imprisonment isn't usually helpful to anyone in the long run since it can just create a more messed up person who will eventually be released and end up in jail again. That doesn't mean that we should punish each crime with the same crime the person committed (eye for an eye) since that may just outrage someone who knows the criminal to get their own justice.
I think lawmaking is a more subtle business than that. Ideally, we need to take a lot of things into consideration. For example: a society doesn't need to decide between either utilitarianistic or retributive justice, different laws may have different underlying principles depending on context.

A more primal question would be, how does a society define and/or ground its basic moral values? Which values are more important for the society- respect for individual life, or possibility of increasing social stability? People don't often talk about this point, but it's very important. Sometimes a society would hold to the truth of a law- or its underlying principle- to be self-evident. In the case of my country, the reason for this is history. A bloody war resulted in the formation of this country, so the values for which that war was fought are too precious to compromise.

In short, making laws is much more complex and variable-laden than a simple choice between broad principles.

Gee, hypothetical lawmaking is more fun than I thought!
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But he's also the guy you want on your side when it all goes sideways. Not just because he has a plan for everything, but because if he's on your side…then you know you're on the side of the right. He's got an unimpeachable moral code that he won't betray. Ever. Batman isn't just the hero Gotham needs… He's the whole damn world's safety net."

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Old November 6th, 2013 (1:59 PM).
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As per homosexuality in the UAE, it being a crime IS based somewhat in religion, but in the most popular Emirates - namely Dubai and Abu Dhabi - it has more of an impact. The United Arab Emirates in general, but especially those two, seek to become as important or atleast as popular as the U.S. Due to this, they are growing nations.

Many men came over from tons of other nations throughout the world to the UAE in order to send home money to their families. Their societies, for the most part, relied mainly on men working and women staying at home, which caused an overhaul in the male population.

While the UAE generally believes that male-female couples is the holy option, it also needs a major rise in population - even if that means it becomes a melting pot. So, male-female couples are needed most of all. The more gay couples there are, supposedly, the less chance there is for a growing population in the UAE.

However, this creates a contradiction:

1) Same-sex couples exist mainly because there aren't enough women for every man. So, in order to increase the population, each woman needs to be with and use multiple men.

2) The above is not only unholy but may change society into one that the UAE's natives won't be okay with.

So, because of this, the best they can do is outlaw gay couples and bring in more females by creating a rise in positions that females normally use - like with my mother and her teaching career. These two are meant to deter male-male couples while creating a better chance for population increase.

--

So, it isn't just a cultural thing - it's also political.
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Old November 6th, 2013 (2:00 PM).
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Vengeance IS justice - as I said, poetic justice. Which is, in itself, retributive justice.

You seem to favor restorative justice. However, this system doesn't work if the criminals DON'T reflect and DO NOT become "proper members of society". The majority of terrible things that happen in prisons happen because the guards torture the prisoners and let the prisoners torture each other. Normally, this creates psychological issues in the prisoners and turns them into criminals once they get out, even if they were innocent before.

Your idea of justice also isn't justice, by that train of thought. It's just sending people into the Lion's Den, then leaving, and never coming back to see what happened to them.

An eye for an eye places judgement upon the person equal to what they did - SO THAT they see how wrong their actions were, first-hand. THAT is what makes them reflect on their actions and not do them again.

--

And you speak bad about the UAE - have you ever been there? My mother has been there for quite some time. According to her, it is the most peaceful, nice, and well-regulated nation she's ever been to - and she's been to MANY. The citizens never have to worry about going bankrupt and feel no need to get weapons to protect themselves since crimes are the lowest in, perhaps, the entire world. Wanna know WHY that is? It's because that society uses poetic justice, is a monarchy with proper ruler, and operates under virtues of patience and selflessness.

That's something you don't get in the U.S. and most other countries - as those countries MUST operate under greed and stress in order for things to get done. You then CREATE menaces to societies by putting them in and taking them out of jail, which many criminals laugh at since it never makes them think over their actions. This nation also is ruled by representatives that WEREN'T raised from birth on how to rule properly and got recognized by their positions which they attained how? Oh right! By survival of the fittest - greed version!


You speak against poetic justice without even living in a society which uses it, claiming it barbaric while ignoring the barbarism of your own society, and speak of peace while not considering temperance. It's hypocrisy. Yes, I know poetic justice isn't perfect, but atleast it DOES make criminals reflect on their actions, while jailtime just plain doesn't.
Inherited power has just as many problems as elected power if not more, for such a 'Murica fan i'm suprised you support the idea of a monarchy where the authority has the power to chop peoples hands off for the petty crime of stealing.

Prison is essentially the idea of restricting someone to lack of freedom and the most spartan lifestyle as punishment for crimes committed against society. The time spent under these restrictions are supposed to a) keep society safe b) provide some sort of discomfort as punishment for breaking the law and c) give repentant criminals a chance to reform. I feel like the time spent in prison relative the crime is a form of humane psychological punishment to attempt to compensate crime victims with a sense of justice.

I feel capital punishment is only relevant to the crime of murder. Political crimes like treason and espionage should not have the death penalty. Say any person is brutally murdered by a psycho. He will spend the rest of his life in prison, will be relatively comfortable there, will not feel remorse and will in fact laugh at the pain you will feel for the rest of your life as you struggle to imagine the life that person could have had and how it was all taken apart in one cruel, senseless moment. I feel that such heinous crimes, with unimaginable terror inflicted befor death, especially to say multiple people who have now lost their lives. Life is the most precious thing we have in this universe, nobody knows where a murderer has sent his victims far too early, as such I feel a completely unremorseful murderer should not have the luxury of decades more time on this Earth that his victims can never have.

I'd agree that life imprisonment is a just punishment in some cases, if a person is remorseful about what they've done. Still in these cases, a death sentence can still be a just sentence. Poetic justice Rezilia said, think of how panicked some murderers would feel, knowing the same emotions their victims felt before death. This reflection cannot be effective if they have spent a lifetime in prison and can take comfort knowing they have reached their maximum life time, the point where all humans must die regardless of their morals and actions.

Sometimes death is the only way to compensate victims and their families, I feel we should give them that if it's warranted.
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Old November 6th, 2013 (6:24 PM).
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He will spend the rest of his life in prison, will be relatively comfortable there
Prison is not comfortable. It is hell on earth.
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Old November 6th, 2013 (6:39 PM).
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Kanzler Kanzler is offline
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Depends on the prison really. What's common to most prisons, at least in the United States, is an extremely regimented lifestyle. I don't know about you, but I could live with that. It might be hard for most criminals though, since they do have an individualist streak - which is why they commit crimes in the first place.
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  #21    
Old November 6th, 2013 (7:19 PM).
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Rezilia Rezilia is offline
 
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Yes, because individualism is the problem.

Did you ever consider that a constrictive collectivist society may be the actual problem? Did you? Hmmmm?

--

Criminals exist only because crime exists. Crime is a CONCEPT which exists only with Law. Thus laws create criminals, not the other way around.
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  #22    
Old November 6th, 2013 (8:04 PM).
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Kanzler Kanzler is offline
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Yeah but crimes, and stopping crime do have functions - even if they are social constructions. Even if they are not natural and created by man, the effect of what we define to be crime and stopping crime is very real. Individualism, as an ideal, isn't the problem - and I'm not criticizing that at all, it's just that criminals tend not be able to conform well to structure, and in a group - which is why prison life drives them crazy.

Anyways, I think our views on capital punishment depends on how much we value life. I do like Rezilia's idea about poetic justice though, sometimes I feel that there should be art in life and what's wrong with throwing away a couple of lives to reflect that? <- obviously there is a lot wrong which I understand, but I'm just throwing another perspective out here.
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  #23    
Old November 7th, 2013 (3:02 AM).
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CoffeeDrink CoffeeDrink is offline
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oh, koff~

A bullet in their socket is worth money in my pocket.

Let me tell you something, criminals cost money. Your money. Violent criminals, easy criminals, woman criminals, cow criminals, all cost money, see? Bullets is cheap. Meals is expensive. You like money? I like money. You hate crime? I detest it to the greatest circle of Hell. I guarantee you that if we were to start mowing them down like we mow the lawn, we'd save money. No more of this waiting and last meal BS. Bring back the firing squads. Those slated to be on death row screwed up. We have enough appeals to make sure for this kind of thing. And even if they were truly innocent, we'd have a lot more money to throw around to send some their way. Crime would drop if you increase the rate of death, severity of punishments and pain of death. You think those women Ted killed begged for their lives? I'll bet they did. Think they felt pain when Jeffrey snacked on their innards? Absolutely. Think criminals should get more rights than you? Didn't think so. Trust me, we'd be better off making prison absolute Hell, koffi~
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  #24    
Old November 7th, 2013 (7:53 AM).
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Niles Crane Niles Crane is offline
 
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Against. While I understand the arguments for capital punishment especially the monetary one, I think they're outweighed by the fact that we are talking about large amounts of human life being wasted here.

I don't agree that it should be in place simply for the threat of deterring criminals either. Few murderers are going to see the difference between life imprisonment (an already strict sentence) and the death sentence as they simply won't plan to be caught in the first place. Many will also be in a position were death is worth the risk due to the financial desperation they find themselves in or the importance of the murder to them personally.

Apart from saving money, we don't tend to achieve much by murdering them and, as a result, I don't think it's possible to justify the death sentence.
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  #25    
Old November 7th, 2013 (8:49 AM).
Nick Nick is offline
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Since when will killing someone tell people not to kill someone?

As for treason, we have a lot of political treason that goes practically unnoticed. IMO, killing someone for not pledging allegiance to your country is absolutely barbaric.

All in all, the death penalty is one of the least logical and most vengeful punishments to give to someone, and is just plain wrong no matter what they've done.
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